University of California Berkeley MARK TWAIN PAPERS THE CELEBRATED JUMPING FKOG CALAVERAS COUNTY, 0%r JJhttcljes. BY MARK TWAIN, EDITED BY JOHN PAUL. C. JT. , Publisher, M9 & ?2f AMERICAN NEWS CO., AGENTS. 1S67. ST. ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1S67, by C. H. WEBB, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New-York. JOHN A. GRAY & GREEN, PBIKTIR8, 16 ASD 18 JACOB ST., NBW-YOBK. TO JOHN SMITH, WHOM I HAVE KNOWN IN DIVERS AND SUNDRY PLACES ABOUT THE WORLD, AND WHOSE MANY AND MANIFOLD VIRTUES DID ALWAYS COMMAND MY ESTEEM, I this It is said that the man to whom a volume is dedicated, always buys a copy. If this prove true in the present instance, a princely affluence is about to burst upon 3CSJE AUTHOR. ~? 5 f .1 ADYEETISEMENT. " MAKE TWAIN " is too well known to the public to require a formal introduction at my hands. By his story of the Frog, he scaled the heights of popularity at a single jump, and won for himself the sobriquet of The Wild Humorist of the Pacific Slope. He is also known to fame as The Moralist of the Main ; and it is not unlikely that as such he will go down to posterity. It is in his secondary character, as humorist, however, rather than in the primal one of moralist, that I aim to present him in the present volume. And here a ready explanation will be found for the somewhat fragmentary character of many of these sketches ; for it was necessary to snatch threads of humor wher- ever they could be found very often detaching them from seri- ous articles and moral essays with which they were woven and entangled. Originally written for newspaper publication, many of the articles referred to events of the day, the interest of which has now passed away, and contained local allusions, which the general reader would fail to understand; in such cases excision became imperative. Further than this, remark or comment is unnecessary. Mark Twain never resorts to tricks of spelling nor rhetorical buffoonery for the purpose of provoking a laugh ; the vein of his humor runs too rich and deep to make surface-gilding necessary. But there are few who can resist the quaint similes, keen satire, and hard good sense which form the staple of his writings. J. P. CONTENTS. PAGE The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, . . . . . 7 Aurelia's Unfortunate Young Man, 20 A Complaint about Correspondents, dated in San Francisco, ... 26 - Answers to Correspondents, 34 Among the Fenians, 53 The Story of the Bad Little Boy who Didn't Come to Grief, . . 60 Curing a Cold, .67 - An Inquiry about Insurances, 76 Literature in the Dry Diggings, 82 "After" Jenkins, . 85 Lucretia Smith's Soldier, 89 The Killing of Julius Caesar " Localized," 99 An Item which the Editor Himself could not Understand, .... 110 Among the Spirits, 116 Brief Biographical Sketch of George Washington, ...... 127 A Touching Story of George Washington's Boyhood, 132 A Page from a Californian Almanac, 141 Information for the Million, 144 The Launch of the Steamer Capital, 153 Origin of Illustrious Men, 162 Advice for Good Little Girls, .......... 164 - Concerning Chambermaids, 167 Remarkable Instances of Presence of Mind, , 172 Honored as a Curiosity in Honolulu, ........ 176 The Steed " Oahu," 179 A Strange Dream, 182 Short and Singular Rations, 194 THE CELEBRATED JUMPING FKOG CALAYERAS COUNTY. compliance with, the request of a Mend of mine, who wrote me from the East, I called on good-natured, garrulous old Simon Wheeler, and inquired after my friend's friend, Leonidas W. Smiley, as requested to do, and I hereunto append the result. I have a lurking suspicion that Leoni- das W. Smiley is a myth ; that my friend never knew such a personage ; and that he only con- jectured that, if I asked old Wheeler albout him, it would remind him of his infamous Jim Smi- ley, and he would go to work and "bore me '8; ; ' ; ,' i THE JUMPING moa. nearly to death with some infernal reminiscence of him as long and tedious as it should be use- less to me. If that was the design, it certainly succeeded. I found Simon Wheeler dozing comfortably by the bar-room stove of the old, dilapidated tavern in the ancient mining camp of Angel's, and I noticed that he was fat and bald-headed, and had an expression of winning gentleness and simplicity upon his tranquil countenance. He roused up and gave me good-day. I told him a Mend of mine had commissioned me to make some inquiries about a cherished compa- nion of his boyhood named Leonidas W. Smi- ley JRev. Leonidas W. Smiley a young min- ister of the Gospel, who he had heard was at one time a resident of Angel's Camp. I added that, if Mr. Wheeler could tell me any thing about this Eev. Leonidas W. Smiley, I would feel under many obligations to him. Simon Wheeler backed me into a corner and blockaded me there with his chair, and then sat me down and reeled off the monotonous narra- tive which follows this paragraph. He never smiled, he never frowned, he never changed his voice from the gentle-flowing key to which he THE JUMPING FROG. 9 tuned the initial sentence, lie never "betrayed the slightest suspicion of enthusiasm ; Ibut all through the interminable narrative there ran a vein of impressive earnestness and sincerity, which showed me plainly that, so far from his imagining that there was any thing ridiculous or funny albout his story, he regarded it as a really important matter, and admired its two heroes as men of transcendent genius in. finesse. To me, the spectacle of a man drifting serenely along through such a queer yarn without ever smiling, was exquisitely albsurd. As I said be- fore, I asked him to tell me what he knew of Kev. Leonidas W. Smiley, and he replied as follows. I let him go on in his own way, and never interrupted him once : There was a feller here once by the name of Jim Smiley, in the winter of '49 or may "be it was the spring of '50 I don't recollect exactly, somehow, though what makes me think it was one or the other is because I remember the big flume wasn't finished when he first came to the camp ; but any way, he was the curiosest man about always betting on any thing that turned up you ever see, if he could get any body to 10 THE JUMPING FROG. "bet on the other side ; and if he couldn't, he'd change sides. Any way that suited the other man would suit him any way just so's he got a bet, Tie was satisfied. But still he was lucky, uncommon lucky; he most always come out winner. He was always ready and laying for a chance ; there couldn't Ibe no solitry thing mentioned Ibut that feller' d offer to Ibet on it, and take any side you please, as I was just tell- ing you. If there was a horse-race, you'd find him flush, or you' d find him Tbusted at the end of it ; if there was a dog-fight, he'd Ibet on it ; if there was a cat-fight, he'd Tbet on it ; if there was a chicken-fight, he'd "bet on it; why, if there was two "birds setting on a fence, he would Tbet you which one would fly first ; or if there was a camp-meeting, he would "be there reg'lar, to Ibet on Parson Walker, which he judg- ed to "be the Ibest exhorter about here, and so he was, too, and a good man. If he even seen a straddle-lbug start to go anywheres, he would Tbet you how long it would take him to get wherever he was going to, and if you took him up, he would foller that straddle-Tbug to Mexico "but what he would find out where he was bound for and how long he was on the road. Lots of THE JUMPING FROG. 11 the boys here has seen that Smiley, and can tell you about him. Why, it never made no differ- ence to Mm he would "bet on any thing the dangdest feller. Parson Walker's wife laid very sick once, for a good while, and it seemed as if they warn't going to save her ; but one morning he come in, and Smiley asked how she was, and he said she was considerable better thank the Lord for his inf 'nit mercy and coming on so smart that, with the blessing of Prov'dence, she'd get well yet; and Smiley, before he thought, says, "Well, I'll risk two- and-a-half that she don't, any way." Thish-yer Smiley had a mare the boys called her the fifteen-minute nag, but that was only in fun, you know, because, of course, she was faster than that and he used to win money on that horse, for all she was so slow and always had the asthma, or the distemper, or the consumption, or something of that kind. They used to give her two or three hundred yards start, and then pass her under way ; but always at the fag-end of the race she'd get excited and desperate-like,- and come cavorting and straddling up, and scattering her legs around limber, sometimes in^ihe air, and some- 12 THE JUMPING FROG. times out to one side amongst the fences, and kicking up m-o-r-e dust, and raising m-o-r-e racket with her coughing and sneezing and blowing her nose and always fetch up at the stand just about a neck ahead, as near as you could cipher it down. And he had a little small "bull pup, that to look at him you'd think he wan't worth a cent, but to set around and look ornery, and lay for a chance to steal something. But as soon as money was up on him, he was a different dog ; his under-jaw'd begin to stick out like the fo' castle of a steamboat, and his teeth would uncover, and shine savage like the furnaces. And a dog might tackle him, and bully-rag him, ftnd bite him, and throw him over his shoulder two or three times, and Andrew Jack- son which was the name of the pup Andrew Jackson would never let on but what Tie was satisfied, and hadn't expected nothing else and the bets being doubled and doubled on the other side all the time, till the money was all up ; and then all of a sudden he would grab that other dog jest by the j'int of his hind leg and freeze to it not chaw, you understand, but only jest grip and hang on till they throwed up THE JUMPING FROG. 13 the sponge, if it was a year. Smiley always come out winner on that pup, till he harnessed a dog once that didn't have no hind legs, be- cause they'd been sawed off by a circular saw, and when the thing had gone along far enough, and the money was all up, and he come to make a snatch for his pet holt, he saw in a minute how he'd been imposed on, and how the other dog had him in the door, so to speak, and he 'peared surprised, and then he looked sorter discouraged-like, and didn't try no more to win the fight, and so he got shucked out bad. He give Smiley a look, as. much as to say his heart was broke, and it was Ms fault, for putting up a dog that hadn't no hind legs for him to take holt of ? which was his main de- pendence in a fight, and then he limped off a piece and laid down and died. It was a good pup, was that Andrew Jackson, and would have made a name for hisself if he'd lived, for the stuff was in him, and he had genius I know it, because he hadn't had no opportuni- ties to speak of, and it don't stand to reason that a dog could make such a fight as he could under them circumstances, if he hadn't no tal- ent. It always makes me feel sorry when I 14 TEE JUMPING FROG think of that last fight of his'n, and the way it turned out. Well, thish-yer Smiley had rat-tarriers, and chicken cocks, and tom-cats, and all them kind of things, till you couldn't rest, and you couldn't fetch nothing for him to "bet on "but he'd match you. He ketched a frog one day, and took him home, and said he cal'klated to edercate him ; and so he never done nothing for three months Tbut set in his "back yard and learn that frog to jump. And you "bet you he did learn him, too. He'd give him a little punch behind, and the next minute you'd see that frog whirling in the air like a doughnut see him turn one summerset, or may "be a couple, if he got a good start, and come down fl^t-footed and all right, like a cat. He got him up so in the matter of catching flies, and kept him in practice so constant, that he'd nail a fly every time as far as he could see him. Smiley said all a frog wanted was education, and he could do most any thing and I Tbelieve him. Why, I've seen him set Dan'l WeTbster down here on this floor Dan'l WeTbster was the name of the frog and sing out, " Flies, Dan'l, flies!" and quicker' n you could wink, THE JUMPING FROG. 15 he'd spring straight up, and snake a fly off'n the counter there, and flop down on the floor again as solid as a golb of mud, and fall to scratching the side of his head with his hind foot as indifferent as if he hadn't no idea he'd "been doin' any more'n any frog might do. You never see a frog so modest and straightfor'ard as he was, for all he was so gifted. And when it come to fair and square jumping on a dead level, he could get over more ground at one straddle than any animal of his Ibreed you ever see. Jumping on a dead level was his strong suit, you understand ; and when it come to that, Smiley would ante up money on him as long as he had a red. Smiley was monstrous proud of his frog, and well he might "be, for fellers that had traveled and "been everywheres, all said he laid over any frog that ever they see. Well, Smiley kept the Tbeast in a little lattice "box, and he used to fetch him down town sometimes and lay for a Tbet. One day a feller a stranger in the camp, he was come across him with his "box, and says : "What might it "be that you've got in the box?" And Smiley says, sorter indifferent like, "It 16 THE JUMPING FROG. might "be a parrot, or it might Ibe a canary, may Ibe, "but it an't it'.s only jnst a frog." And the feller took it, and looked at it care- ful, and turned it round this way and that, and says, "H'm so 'tis. Well, what's Tie good for?" "Well," Smiley says, easy and careless, "He's good enough for one thing, I should judge he can outjump ary frog in Calaveras county." The feller took the box again, and took another long, particular look, and give it "back to Smiley, and says, very deliberate, "Well, I don't see no p'ints albout that frog that's any Tbetter'n any other frog." ' < May Tbe y o u don' t, ' ' Smiley says. * < May Ibe you understand frogs, and may Ibe you don't understand 'em ; may Ibe you've had experience, and may "be you an't only a amature, as it were. Anyways, I've got my opinion, and I'll risk forty dollars that he can outjump any frog in Calaveras county." And the feller studied a minute, and then says, kinder sad like, " Well, I'm only a stran- ger here, and I an't got no frog ; Ibut if I had a frog, I'd bet you." THE JUMPING FROG. 17 And then Smiley says, "That's all right that's all right if you'll hold my box a min- ute, I'll go and get you a frog." And so the feller took the box, and put up his forty dol- lars along with Smiley' s, and set down to wait. So he set there a good while thinking and thinking to hisself, and then he got the frog out and prized his mouth open and took a teaspoon and filled him full of quail shot filled him pretty near up to his chin and set him on the floor. Smiley he went to the swamp and slop- ped around in the mud for a long time, and finally he ketched a frog, and fetched him in, and give him to this feller, and says : " Now, if you're ready, set him alongside of Dan'l, with his fore-paws just even with Dan'l, and I'll give the word." Then he says, "One two three jump !" and him and the feller touched up the frogs from behind, and the new frog hopped off, Tbut Dan'l give a heave, and hysted up his shoulders so like a French- man, but it wan't no use he couldn't budge ; he was planted as solid as an anvil, and he couldn't no more stir than if he was anchored out. Smiley was a good deal surprised, and 18 THE JUMPING FROG. he was disgusted too, "but lie didn't have no idea what the matter was, of course. The feller took the money and started away ; and when he was going out at the door, he sor- ter jerked his thumb over his shoulders this way at Dan'l, and says again, very deliber- ate, "Well, /don't see no p'ints about that frog that's any better' n any other frog." Smiley he stood scratching his head and looking down at Dan'l a long time, and at last he says, " I do wonder what in the nation that frog throw'd off for I wonder if there an't something the matter with him- he 'pears to look mighty baggy, somehow." And he ketched Dan'l by the nap of the neck, and lifted him up and says, " Why, blame my cats, if he don't weigh five pound !" and turned him upside down, and he belched out a double handful of shot. And then he see how it was, and he was the maddest man- he set the frog down and took out after that feller, but he never ketched him. And [Here Simon Wheeler heard his name called from the front yard, and got up to see what was wanted.] And turning to me as he moved away, he said : " Just set where you are, stran- THE JUMPING FROG. 19 ger, and rest easy I an't going to be gone a second. 35 But, "by your leave, I did not think that a continuation of the history of the enterprising vagabond Jim Smiley would Ibe likely to afford me much information concerning the Kev. Leoni- das W. Smiley, and so I started away. At the door I met the sociable Wheeler re- turning, and he buttonholed me and recom- menced : "Well, thish-yer Smiley had a yaller one- eyed cow that didn't have no tail, only jest a short stump like a bannanner, and " " Oh ! hang Smiley and his afflicted cow !" I muttered, good-naturedly, and bidding the old gentleman good-day, I departed. AURELIA'S UNFORTUNATE YOUNG MAN. JHE facts in the following case come to me Iby letter from a young lady who lives in the "beautiful city of San Jose ; she is perfectly unknown to me, and simply signs herself " Aurelia Maria," which may pos- "silbly "be a fictitious name. But no matter, the poor girl is almost heart-Tbroken Iby the misfor- tunes she has undergone, and so confused Iby the conflicting counsels of misguided friends and insidious enemies, that she does not know what course to pursue in order to extricate her- self fram the web of difficulties in which she seems almost hopelessly involved. In this di- lemma she turns to me for help, and suppli- cates for my guidance and instruction with a moving eloquence that would touch the heart of a statue. Hear her sad story : She says that when she was sixteen years old she met and loved, with all the devotion of a AMELIA'S UNFORTUNATE YOUNG MAN. 21 passionate nature, a young man from New- Jer- sey, named Williamson Breckinridge Caruthers, who was some six years her senior. They were engaged, with the free consent of their friends and relatives, and for a time it seemed as if their career iras destined to be characterized Tby an immunity from sorrow beyond the usual lot of humanity. But at last the tide of fortune turned ; young Caruthers became infected with small-pox of the most virulent type, and when he recovered from his illness, his face was pit- ted like a waffle-mould and his comeliness gone forever. Aurelia thought to break off the en- gagement at first, but pity for her unfortunate lover caused her to postpone the marriage-day for a season, and give him another trial. The very day before the wedding was to have taken place, Breckinridge, while absorbed in watching the flight of a balloon, walked into a well and fractured one of his legs, and it had to be taken off above the knee. Again Aurelia was moved to break the engagement, but again love triumphed, and she set the day forward and gave him another chance to reform. And again misfortune overtook the unhappy youth. He lost one arm by the premature dis- 22 AURELIAS UNFORTUNATE YOUNG HAN. charge of a Fourth-of- July cannon, and within three months he got the other pulled out "by a carding-machine. Aurelia's heart was almost crushed "by these latter calamities. She could not "but "be deeply grieved to see her lover pass- . ing from her Iby piecemeal, feeling, as she did, that he could not last forever under this disas- trous process of reduction, yet knowing of no way to stop its dreadful career, and in her tear- ful despair she almost regretted, like brokers who hold on and lose, that she had not taken him at first, "before he had suffered such an alarming depreciation. Still, her Ibrave soul "bore her up, and she resolved to "bear with her friend's unnatural disposition yet a little longer. Again the wedding-day approached, and again disappointment overshadowed it : Car- uthers fell ill with the erysipelas, and lost the use of one of his eyes entirely. The friends and relatives of the "bride, considering that she had already put up with more than could rea- sonably Ibe expected of her, now came forward and insisted that the match should Tbe broken off; but after wavering awhile, Aurelia, with a generous spirit which did her credit, said AURELIA'S UNFORTUNATE YOUNG MAN. 23 she had reflected calmly upon the matter, and could not discover that Breckinridge was to blame. So she extended the time once more, and he broke his other leg. It was a sad day for the poor girl when she saw the surgeons reverently bearing away the sack whose uses she had learned by previous experience, and her heart told her the bitter truth that some more of her lover was gone. She felt that the field of her affections was growing more and more circumscribed every day, but once more she frowned down her re- latives and renewed her betrothal. Shortly before the time set for the nuptials another disaster occurred. There was but one man scalped by the Owens River Indians last year. That man was Williamson Breckinridge Caruthers, of New-Jersey. He was hurrying home with happiness in his heart, when he lost his hair forever, and in that hour of bitterness he almost cursed the mistaken mercy that had spared his head. At last Aurelia is in serious perplexity as to what she ought to do. She still loves her Breckinridge, she writes, with true womanly 24 AURELIA 8 UNFORTUNATE YOUNG MAN. feeling she still loves what is left of Mm but her parents are bitterly opposed to the match, because he has no property and is disabled from working, and she has not sufficient means to support both comfortably. "Now, what should she dof she asks with painful and anxious solicitude. It is a delicate question ; it is one which in- volves the lifelong happiness of a woman, and that of nearly two thirds of a man, and I feel that it would be assuming too great a responsi- bility to do more than make a mere suggestion in the case. How would it do to build to him ? If Aurelia can afford the expense, let her fur- nish her mutilated lover with wooden arms and wooden legs, and a glass eye and a -wig, and give him another show ; give him ninety days, without grace, and if he does not break his neck in the mean time, marry him and take the chances. It does not seem to me that there is much risk, any way, Aurelia, because if he sticks to his infernal propensity for damaging himself every time he sees .a good opportunity, his next experiment is bound to finish him, and then you are all right, you know, married or single. If married, the wooden legs and such AURELIAS UNFORTUNATE YOUNG MAN. 25 other valuables as lie may possess, revert to tlie widow, and you see you sustain no actual loss save the cherished fragment of a noble but most unfortunate husband, who honestly strove to do right, but whose extraordinary instincts were against him. Try it, Maria ! I have thought the matter over carefully and well, and it is the only chance I see for you. It would have been a happy conceit on the part of Car- uthers if he had started with his neck and bro- ken that first; but since he has seen fit to choose a different policy and string himself out as long as possible, I do not think we ought to upbraid him for it if he has enjoyed it. We must do the best we can under the circum- stances, and try not to feel exasperated at him. A COMPLAINT ABOUT CORRESPONDENTS, DATED IN SAN FRANCISCO. I HAT do you take us for, on this side 01 the continent ? I am addressing my- self personally, and with asperity ,to every man, woman, and child east of the Rocky Mountains. How do you suppose our minds are constituted, that you will write us such exe- crable letters such poor, bald, uninteresting trash ? You complain that by the time a man has been on the Pacific coast six months, he seems to lose all concern about matters and things and people in the distant East, and ceases to answer the letters of his friends and even his relatives. It is your own fault. You need a lecture on the subject a lecture which ought to read about as follows : There is only one brief, solitary law for let- ter-writing, and yet you either do not know that law, or else you are so stupid that you A COMPLAINT ABOUT CORRESPONDENTS. 27 never think of it. It is very easy and simple : Write only about things and people your cor- respondent takes a living interest in. Can not you remember that law, hereafter, and abide by it ? If you are an old friend of the person you are writing to, you know a number of his acquaintances, and you can rest satisfied that even the most trivial things you can write about them will be read with avidity out here on the edge of sunset. Yet how do you write ? how do the most of you write ? Why, you drivel and drivel and drivel along in your wooden-headed way about people one never heard of before, and things which one knows nothing at all about and cares less. There is no sense in that. Let me show up your style with a specimen or so. Here is a paragraph from my Aunt Nancy's last letter received four years ago, and not answered immediately not at all, I may say : " ST. Louis, 1862. " DEAR MABK : We spent the evening very pleasantly at home yesterday. The Rev. Dr. Macklin and wife, from Peoria, were here. He is an humble laborer in the vineyard, and takes his coffee strong 1 . He is also subject to neuralgia neuralgia in the head and is so unassuming and prayerful. There are few such men . We had soup for dinner likewise. Although I am 28 A COMPLAINT ABOUT CORRESPONDENTS. not fond of it. O Mark ! why don't you try to lead a "better life ? Read II. Kings, from chap. 2 to chap. 24 inclusive. It would be so gratifying to ine if you would experience a change of heart. Poor Mrs. Gabrick is dead. You did not know her. She had fits, poor soul. On the 14th the entire army took up the line of march from " I always stopped there, because I knew what was coming the war news, in minute and dry detail for . I could never drive it into those numskulls that the overland telegraph enabled me to know here in San Francisco every day all that transpired in the United States the day "before, and that the pony express brought me exhaustive details of all matters pertaining to the war at least two weeks "before their letters & could possibly reach me. So I naturally skip- ped their stale war reports, even at the cost of also skipping the inevitable suggestions to read this, that, and the other batch of chapters in the Scriptures, with which they were interlard- ed at intervals, like snares wherewith to trap the unwary sinner. Now what was the Rev. Macklin to me ? Of what consequence was it to me that he was "an humble laborer in the vineyard," and "took his coffee strong"? and was "unassuming," and 4 neuralgic, ' ' and c ' prayerful ' ' ? Such a strange A COMPLAINT ABOUT CO-RESPONDENTS. 29 conglomeration of virtues conld only excite my admiration nothing more. It could awake no living interest. That there are few such men, and that we had soup for dinner, is simply gratifying that is all. "Bead twenty-two chapters of II. Kings " is a nice shell to fall in the camp of a man who is not studying for the ministry. The intelligence that "poor Mrs. Gabrick" was dead, aroused no enthusiasm mostly because of the circumstance that I had never heard of her before, I presume. But I was glad she had fits although a stranger. Don't you begin to understand, now ? Don't you see that there is not a sentence in that let- ter of any interest in the world to me ? I had the war news in advance of it ; I could get a much better sermon at church when I needed it ; I didn't care any thing about poor Gabrick, not knowing deceased ; nor yet the Rev. Mack- lin, not knowing him either. I said to myself, " Here's not a word about Mary Anne Smith I wish there was ; nor about Georgiana Brown, or Zeb Leavenworth, or Sam Bowen, or Stro- ther Wiley or about any body else I care a straw for." And so, as this letter was just of a pattern with all that went before it, it was SO A. COMPLAINT ABOUT CORRESPONDENTS. not answered, and one useless correspondence ceased. My venerable mother is a tolerably good cor- respondent she is above the average, at any rate. She puts on her spectacles and takes her scissors and wades into a pile of newspapers, and slashes out column after column edito- rials, hotel arrivals, poetry, telegraph news, ad- vertisements, novelettes, old jokes, recipes for making pies, cures for " biles" any thing that comes handy; it don't matter to her; she is entirely impartial; she slashes out a column, and runs her eye down it over her spectacles (she looks over them because she can't see through them, but she prefers them to her more serviceable ones because they have got gold rims to them) runs her eye down the column, and says, "Well, it's from a St. Louis paper, any way," and jams it into the envelope along with her letter. She writes about every body I ever knew or ever heard of; but unhappily, she forgets that when she tells me that " J. B. is dead," and that " W. L. is going to marry T. D." and that "B. K. and K. M. and L. P. J. have all gone to New-Orleans to live," it is more than likely that years of absence may A COMPLAINT ABOUT CORRESPONDENTS. 31 have so dulled my recollection of once familiar names, that their unexplained initials will be as unintelligible as Hebrew unto me. She never writes a name in full, and so I never know whom she is talking about. Therefore I have to guess and this was how it came that I mourned the death of Bill Kribben when I should have rejoiced over the dissolution of Ben Kenfuron. I failed to cipher the initials out correctly. The most useful and interesting letters we get here from home are from children seven or eight years old. This is petrified truth. Hap- pily they have got nothing to talk about but home, and neighbors, and family things their betters think unworthy of transmission thou- sands of miles. They write simply and natu- rally, and without straining for effect. They tell all they know, and then stop. They sel- dom deal in abstractions or moral homilies. Consequently their epistles are brief ; but, treating as they do of familiar scenes and per- sons, always entertaining. Now, therefore, if you would learn the art of letter- writing, let a little child teach you. I have preserved a let- ter from a small girl eight years of age pre- 32 A COMPLAINT ABOUT CORRESPONDENTS. served it as a curiosity, "because it was the only letter I ever got from tlie States that had any information in it. It runs thus : ST. Louis, 1865. " Uncle Mark, if you was here, I could tell you about Moses in the Bulrushers again, I know it better now. Mr. Sowerby has got his leg broke off a horse. He was riding it on Sunday. Margaret, that's the maid, Margaret has took all the spittoons, and slop-buckets, and old jugs out of your room, because she says she don't think you're ever coming back any more, you been gone so long. Sissy McElroy's mother has got another little baby. She has them all the time. It has got little blue eyes, like Mr. Swimley that boards there, and looks just like him. I have got a new doll, but Johnny Anderson pulled one of its legs out. Miss Doosenberry was here to-day ; I give her your picture, but she said she didn't want it. My cat has got more kittens oh! you can't think twice as many as Lottie Belden's. And there's one, such a sweet little buff one with a short tail, and I named it for you. All of them's got names now General Grant, and Halleck, and Moses, and Margaret, and Deuteronomy, and Captain Semmes, and Exodus, and Le- viticus, and Horace Greeley all named but one, and I am saving it because the one that I named for You's been sick all the time since, and I reckon it'll die. [It appears to have been mighty rough on the short-tailed kitten, naming it for me I wonder how the reserved victim will stand it.] Uncle Mark, I do be- lieve Hattie Caldwell likes you, and I know she thinks you are pretty, because I heard her say nothing couldn't hurt your good looks nothing at all she said, even if you was to have the small-pox ever so bad, you would be just as good-looking as you was before. And my ma says she's ever so smart. [Very.] So no more this time, because General Grant and Moses is fight- ing. ANNIE." This child treads on my toes, in every A COMPLAINT ABOUT CORRESPONDENTS. 33 other sentence, with a perfect looseness, but in the simplicity of her time of life she doesn't know it. I consider that a model letter an eminently readable and entertaining letter, and, as I said "before, it contains more matter of interest and more real information than any letter I ever received from the East. I had rather hear about the cats at home and their truly remark- able names, than listen to a lot of stuff about people I am not acquainted with, or read " The Evil Effects of the Intoxicating Bowl," illus- trated on the back with a picture of a ragged scalliwag pelting away right and left, in the midst of his family circle, with a junk bottle. ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. JOEAL STATISTICIAN."! don't want any of your statistics. I took 'your whole "batch, and lit my pipe with it. I hate your kind of people. You are always ciphering out how much a man's health is injured, and how much his intellect is im- paired, and how many pitiful dollars and cents he wastes in the course of ninety-two years' in- dulgence in the fatal practice of smoking ; and in the equally fatal practice of drinking coffee ; and in playing "billiards occasionally ; and in taking a glass of wine at dinner, etc., etc., etc. And you are always figuring out how many wo- men have Ibeen "burned to death because of the dangerous fashion of wearing expansive hoops, etc., etc., etc. You never see more than one side of the question. You are Tblind to the fact that most old men in America smoke and drink coffee, although, according to your theory, they ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. 35 ought to have died young ; and that hearty old Englishmen drink wine and survive it, and port- ly old Dutchmen both drink and smoke free- ly, and yet grow older and fatter all the time. And you never try to find out how much solid comfort, relaxation, and enjoyment a man de- rives from smoking in the course of a lifetime, (which is worth ten times the money he would save Tby letting it alone,) nor the appalling ag- gregate of happiness lost in a lifetime Iby your kind of people from not smoking. Of course you can save money Tby denying yourself all these little vicious enjoyments for fifty years ; but then what can you do with it ? What use can you put it to ? Money can't save your in- finitesimal soul. All the use that money can be put to is to purchase comfort and enjoyment in this life; therefore, as you are an enemy to comfort and enjoyment, where is the use in ac- cumulating cash ? It won't do for you to say that you can use it to better purpose in furnish- ing a good table, and in charities, and in sup- porting tract societies, because you know your- self that you people who have no petty vices are never known to give away a cent, and that you stint yourselves so in the matter of food 36 AXT8WEE8 TO CORRESPONDENTS. that you are always feelble and hungry. And you never dare to laugh, in the daytime for fear some poor wretch, seeing you in a good humor, will try to "borrow a dollar of you ; and in church you are always down on your knees, with your eyes "buried in the cushion, when the contribution-box comes around ; and you never give the revenue officers a true statement of your income. Now you know all these things yourself, don't you ? Very well, then, what is the use of your stringing out your miserable lives to a lean and withered old age ? What is the use of your saving money that is so utterly worthless to you? In a word, why don't you go off somewhere and die, and not "be always trying to seduce people into becoming as " ornery" and unlovable as you are yourselves, fay your ceaseless and villainous " moral statis- tics" ? Now, I don't approve of dissipation, and I don't indulge in it, either ; but I haven't a particle of confidence in a ^ man who has no redeeming petty vices whatever, and so I don't want to hear from you any more. I think you are the very same man who read me a long lec- ture, last week, about the degrading vice of smoking cigars, and then came back, in my ab- ANSWERS TO CORRESPOND EX T8. 37 sence, with your vile, reprehensible fire-proof gloves on, and carried off my beautiful parlor- stove. " SIMOK WHEELER," Sonora. The following simple and touching remarks and accompany- ing poem have just come to hand from the rich gold-mining region of Sonora : To Mr. Marie Twain : The within parson, which I have sot to poettry under the name and style of " He Done Hj^s Level Best," was one among the whitest men I ever see, and it an't every man that knowed him that can find it in his heart to say he's glad the poor cuss is busted and gone home to the States. He was here in an early day, and he was the handyest man about takin' holt of any thing that come along you most ever see, I judge. He was a cheerful, stirrin' cretur', always doin' something, and no man can say he ever see him do any thing by halvers. Preachin' was his nateral gait, but he warn't a man to lay back and twidle his thums because there didn't hap- pen to be nothin' doin' in his own espeshial line no, sir, he was a man who would meander forth and stir up something for his- self. His last acts was to go his pile on " kings-a/ifZ," (calklatin' to fill, but which he didn't fill,) when there was a " flush " out agin him, and naterally, you see, he went under. And so he was cleaned out, as you may say, and he struck the home-trail, cheerful but flat broke. I knowed this talonted man in Arkan- saw, and if you would print this humbly tribute to his gorgis abillities, you would greatly obleege his onhappy friend. HE DONE HIS LEVEL BEST. Was he a mining on the flat He done it with a zest ; Was he a leading of the choir He done his level best. 38 ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. If he'd a reg'lar task to do, He never took no rest ; Or if 'twas off-and-on the same He done his level best. If he was preachin* on his beat, He'd tramp from east to west, And north to south in cold and heat He done his level best. He'd yank a sinner outen (Hades),* And land him with the blest ; Then snatch a prayer 'n waltz in again, And do his level best. He'd cuss and sing and howl and pray, And dance and drink and jest, And lie and steal all one to him He done his level best. Whate'er this man was sot to do, He done it with a zest ; No matter what his contract was, HE'D DO HIS LEVEL BEST. ^ Verily, this man was gifted with " gorgis abillities," and it is a happiness to me to em- balm the memory of their lustre in these col- umns. If it were not that the poet crop is un- usually large and rank in California this year, I would encourage you to continue writing, Simon ; "but as it is, perhaps it might Ibe too * Here I have taken a slight liberty with the original MS. " Hades " does not make such good metre as the other word of one syllable, but it sounds better. ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. 39 risky in you to enter against so much oppo- sition. wishes to know which is the "best Tbrand of smoking tobacco, and how it is manufactured. The most popular mind, I do not feel at liberty to give an opinion as to the "best, and so I simply say the most popular smoking tobacco is the miraculous conglome- rate they call "Killikinick." It is composed of equal parts of tolbacco stems, chopped straw, "old soldiers," fine shavings, oak leaves, dog- fennel, corn-shucks, sunflower petals, outside leaves of the cabbage plant, and any refuse of any description whatever that costs nothing and will burn. After the ingredients are tho- roughly mixed together, they are run through a chopping-machine and soaked in a spittoon. The mass is then sprinkled with fragrant Scotch snuff, packed into various seductive shapes, labeled "Genuine Killikinick, from the old original manufactory at Kichmond," and sold to consumers at a dollar a pound. The choicest brands contain a double portion of "old sol- diers," and sell at a dollar and a half. " Gen- uine Turkish" tobacco contains a treble quan- 40 ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. tity of " old soldiers," and is worth two or three dollars, according to tlie amount of service the said " old soldiers " have previously seen. N. B. This article is preferred "by the Sultan of Turkey ; his picture and autograph are on the label. Take a handful of "KiUiMnick," crush it as fine as you can, and examine it closely, and you will find that you can make as good an analysis of it as I have done ; you must not expect to discover any particles of genuine tolbacco "by this rough method, how- ever to do that, it will Ibe necessary to take your specimen to the mint and subject it to a fire-assay. A good article of cheap tobacco is now made of chopped pine-straw and Spanish moss ; it contains one " old soldier 35 to the ton, and is called "Fine Old German Tolbacco." " PROFESSIONAL BEGGAR." No; you are not obliged to take greenbacks at par. * "MELTON MOWBRAY," Dutch Mat. This correspondent sends a lot of doggerel, and says * This piece of pleasantry, published in a San Francisco pa- per, was mistaken by the country journals for seriousness, and many and loud were their denunciations of the ignorance of au- thor and editor, in not knowing that the lines in question were " written by Byron." ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. 41 it has Ibeen regarded as very good inNDutch Flat. I give a specimen verse : " The Assyrian came down, like a wolf on the fold, And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold ; And the sheen of his spears shone like stars on the sea, When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee." There, that will do. That may be very good Dutch Flat poetry, Tbut it won't do in the metro- polis. It is too smooth and Iblulblbery ; it reads like "bnttermilk gurgling from a jug. What the people ought to have is something spirit- ed something like " Johnny Comes Marching Home." However, keep on practicing, and you may succeed yet. There is genius in you, "but too much Iblulblber. "AMATEUK SEEENADEE." Yes, I will give you some advice, and do it with a good deal of pleasure. I live in a neighborhood which is well stocked with young ladies, and conse- quently I am excruciatingly sensitive upon the subject of serenading. Sometimes I suffer. In the first place, always tune your instruments before you get within three hundred yards of your destination. This will enable you to take your adored unawares, and create a pleasant 42 ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. surprise Iby launching out at once upon your music. It astonishes the dogs and cats out of their presence of mind, too, so that, if you hurry, you can get through before they have a chance to recover and interrupt you ; besides, there is nothing captivating in the sounds produced in tuning a lot of melancholy guitars and fiddles, and neither does a group of able-bodied, senti- mental young men so engaged look at all digni- fied. Secondly, clear your throats and do all the coughing you have got to do before you ar- rive at the seat of war. I have known a young lady to be ruthlessly startled out of her slum- bers by such a sudden and direful blowing of noses and "h'm-h'm-ing" and coughing, that she imagined the house was beleaguered by vic- tims of consumption from the neighboring hos- pital. Do you suppose the music was able to make her happy after that? Thirdly, don't stand right under the porch and howl, but get out in the middle of the street, or better still, on the other side of it. Distance lends enchant- ment to the sound. If you have previously transmitted a hint to the lady that she is going to be serenaded, she will understand whom the music is for ; besides, if you occupy a neutral ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. 43 position in the middle of the street, may Tbe all the neighbors round will take stock in your serenade, and invite you to take -wine with them. Fourthly, don't sing a whole opera through; enough of a thing's enough. Fifth- ly, don't sing " Lily Dale." The profound sat- isfaction that most of us derive from the reflec- tion that the girl treated of in that song is dead, is constantly marred Tby the resurrection of the lugubrious ditty itself by your kind of people. Sixthly, don't let your screaming tenor soar an octave above all the balance of the chorus, and remain there setting every body's teeth on edge for four blocks around ; and, above all, don't let him sing a solo ; probably there is nothing in the world so suggestive of serene content- ment and perfect bliss as the spectacle of a calf chewing a dish-rag ; but the nearest approach to it is your reedy tenor, standing apart, in sickly attitude, with head thrown back and eyes uplifted to the moon, piping his distressing solo. Now do not pass lightly over this matter, friend, but ponder it with that seriousness which its importance entitles it to. Seventhly, after you have run all the chickens and dogs and cats in the vicinity distracted, and roused them into 4A ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. a frenzy of crowing, and cackling, and yawling, and caterwauling, put up your dreadful instru- ments and go home. Eighthly, as soon as you start, gag your tenor otherwise he will be let- ting off a screech every now and then, to let the people know he is around. Your amateur tenor is notoriously the most self-conceited of all God's creatures. Tenthly, don't go serenading at all ; it is a wicked, unhappy, and seditious practice, and a calamity to all souls that are weary and desire to slumber and would be at rest. Eleventhly and lastly, the father of the young lady in the next block says that if you come prowling around his neighborhood again, with your infamous scraping and tooting and yelling, he will sally forth and deliver you into the hands of the police. As far as I am con- cerned myself, I would like to have you come, and come often ; but as long as the old man is so prejudiced, perhaps you had better serenade mostly in Oakland, or San Jose, or around there somewhere. " ST. GLAIR HIGGINS," Los Angeles. "My life is a failure ; I have adored, wildly, madly, and she whom I love has turned coldly from me and shed her affections upon another. What would you advise me to do ?" ANSWERS TO CO-RESPONDENTS. 45 You should shed your affections on another, also or on several, if there are enough to go round. Also, do every thing you can to make your former flame unhappy. There is an ab- surd idea disseminated in novels, that the hap- pier a girl is with another man, the happier it makes the old lover she has "blighted. Don't allow yourself to "believe any such nonsense as that. The more cause that girl finds to regret that she did not marry you, the more comfort- able you will feel over it. It isn't poetical, "but it is mighty sound doctrine. " ARITHMETICTJS," Virginia, Nevada. "If it would take a cannon ball 3 seconds to travel four miles, and 3| seconds to travel the next four, and 3f seconds to travel the next four, and if its rate of progress continued to diminish in the same ratio, how long would it take it to go fifteen hundred millions of miles?" I don't know. ' c AMBITIOUS LEAENEE, ' ' Oakland. Yes, you are right America was not discovered "by Alexander Selkirk. " DISCARDED LOYER." " I loved, and still love, the "beautiful Edwitha Howard, and intended to marry her. Yet, during my temporary absence at Benicia, last week, alas ! she married Jones. Is my happiness to be thus blasted for life ? Have I no redress ?" 46 ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. Of course you have. All the law, written and unwritten, is on your side. The intention and not the act constitutes crime in other words, constitutes the deed. If you call your bosom friend a fool, and intend it for an insult, it is an insult ; "but if you do it playfully, and meaning no insult, it is not an insult. If you discharge a pistol accidentally r , and kill a man, you can go free, for you have done no murder ; but if you try to kill a man, and manifestly in- tend to kill him, but fail utterly to do it, the law still holds that the intention constituted the crime, and you are guilty of murder. Er- go, if you had married Edwitha accidentally, and without really intending to do it, you would not actually be married to her at all, because the act of marriage could not be com- plete without the intention. And ergo, in the strict spirit of the law, since you deliberately intended to marry Edwitha, and didn't do it, you are married to her all the same because, as I said before, the intention constitutes the crime. It is as clear as day that Edwitha is your wife, and your redress lies in taking a club and mutilating Jones with it as much as you can. Any man has a right to protect his ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. 47 own wife from the advances of other men. But you have another alternative you were mar- ried to Edwitha first, because of your deliber- ate intention, and now you can prosecute her for bigamy, in subsequently marrying Jones. But there is another phase in this complicated case : You intended to marry Edwitha, and consequently, according to law, she is your wife there is no getting around that ; but she didn't marry you, and if she never intended to marry you, you are not Tier husband, of course. Ergo, m marrying Jones, she was guilty of bigamy, because she was the wife of another man at the time ; which is all very well as far as it goes but then, don't you see, she had no other husband when she married Jones, and consequently she was not guilty of bigamy. Now, according to this view of the case, Jones married a spinster, who was a widow at the same time and another man's wife at the same time, and yet who had no husband and never had one, and never had any intention of get- ting married, and therefore, of course, never had been married ; and by the same reasoning you are a bachelor, because you have never been any one's Jiusband; and a married man, be- 48 ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. cause you have a wife living ; and to all intents and purposes a widower, "because you have "been deprived of tliat wife ; and a consummate ass for going off to Benicia in the first place, while things were so mixed. And by this time I have got myself so tangled up in the intrica- cies of this extraordinary case that I shall have to give up any further attempt to advise you I might get confused and fail to make myself understood. I think I could take up the ar- gument where I left off, and Tby following it closely awhile, perhaps I could prove to your satisfaction, either that you never existed at all, or that you are dead now, and consequent- ly don't need the faithless Edwitha I think I could do that, if it would afford you any com- fort. "PEKSECUTED UNFORTUNATE." You say you owe six months' "board, and you have no money to pay it with, and your landlord keeps harassing you about it, and you have made all the excuses and explanations possible, and now you are at a loss what to say to him in future. Well, it is a delicate matter to offer advice in a case like this, but your distress impels me to ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. 49 make a suggestion, at least, since I can not ven- ture to do more. When lie next importunes you, how would it do to take Mm impressively "by the hand and ask, with simulated emotion, "Monsieur Jean, votre cMen, comme se porte- ilf" Doubtless that is very Ibad French, but you will find that it will answer just as well as the unadulterated article. "AKTHUR AUGUSTUS." No, you are wrong ; that is the proper way to throw a "brickbat or a tomahawk ; Tbut it doesn't answer so well for a bouquet ; you will hurt somebody if you keep it up. Turn your nosegay upside down, take it by the stems, and toss it with an upward sweep. Did you ever pitch quoits ? that is the idea. The practice of recklessly heaving im- mense solid bouquets, of the general size and weight of prize cabbages, from the dizzy alti- tude of the galleries, is dangerous and very reprehensible. Now, night before last, at the Academy of Music, just after Signorina Sconcia had finished that exquisite melody, " The Last Hose of Summer," one of these floral pile-driv- ers came cleaving down through the atmos- phere of applause, and if she hadn't deployed 50 ANSWfiMS TO CORRESPONDENTS. suddenly to the right, it would have driven her into the floor like a shingle-nail. Of course that "bouquet was well meant ; but how would you have liked to have Tbeen the target ? A sincere compliment is always grateful to a lady, so long as you don't try to knock her down with it. MOTHER." And so you think a Tbalby is a thing of beauty and a joy forever? Well, the idea is pleasing, but not original ; every cow thinks the same of its own calf. Per- haps the cow may not think it so elegantly, but still she thinks it, nevertheless. I honor the cow for it. We all honor this touching maternal instinct wherever we find it, be it in the home of luxury or in the humble cow-shed. But really, madam, when I come to examine the matter in all its bearings, I find that the cor- rectness of your assertion does not manifest itself in all cases. A sore-faced baby, with a neglected nose, can not be conscientiously re- garded as a thing of beauty ; and inasmuch as- babyhood spans but three short years, no baby is competent to be a joy " forever." It pains me thus to demolish two thirds of your pretty sentiment in a single sentence ; but the position ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. 51 I hold in this chair requires that I shall not permit you to deceive and mislead the public with your plausible figures of speech. I know a female baby, aged eighteen months, in this city, which can not hold out as a " joy" twenty- four hours on a stretch, let alone " forever." And it possesses some of the most remarkable eccentricities of character and appetite that have ever fallen under my notice. I will set down here a statement of this infant's opera- tions, (conceived, planned, and carried out Iby itself, and without suggestion or assistance from its mother or any one else,) during a single day ; and what I shall say can Tbe substantiated by the sworn testimony of witnesses. It commenced by eating one dozen large blue- mass pills, box and all ; then it fell down a flight of stairs, and arose with a bruised and purple knot on its forehead, after which it proceeded in quest of further refreshment and amusement. It found a glass trinket ornamented with brass- work mashed up and ate the glass, and then swallowed the brass. Then it drank about twenty drops of laudanum, and more- than a dozen table-spoonfuls of strong spirits of cam- phor. The reason why it took no more lauda- 52 ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. num was because there was no more to take. After this it lay down on its back, and shoved five or six inches of a silver-headed whalebone cane down its throat ; got it fast there, and it was all its mother conld do to pull the cane out again, without pulling out some of the child with it. Then, "being hungry for glass again, it "broke up several wine glasses, and fell to eat- ing and swallowing the fragments, not minding a cut or two. Then it ate a quantity of butter, pepper, salt, and California matches, actually taking a spoonful of butter, a spoonful of salt, a spoonful of pepper, and three or four lucifer matches at each mouthful. (I will remark here that this thing of beauty likes painted German lucifers, and eats all she can get of them ; but she infinitely prefers California matches, which I regard as a compliment to our home manufac- tures of more than ordinary value, coming, as it does, from one who is too young to flatter.) Then she washed her head with soap and wa- ter, and afterward ate what soap was left, and drank as much of the suds as she had room for ; after which she sallied forth and took the cow familiarly by the tail, and got kicked heels over head. At odd times during the day, when this ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. 53 joy forever happened to have nothing particu- lar on hand, she put in the time by climlbing up on places, and falling down off them, uniformly damaging herself in the operation. As young as she is, she speaks many words tolerably dis- tinctly; and being plain-spoken in other re- spects, blunt and to the point, she opens con- versation with all strangers, male or female, with the same formula, "How do, Jim?" Not being familiar with the ways of children, it is possible that I have been magnifying into mat- ter of surprise things which may not strike any one who is familiar with infancy as "being at all astonishing. However, I can not believe that such is the case, and so I repeat that my report of this baby' s performances is strictly true ; and if any one doubts it, I can produce the child. I will further engage that she will devour any thing that is given her, (reserving to myself only the right to exclude anvils,) and fall down from any place to which she may be elevated, (merely stipulating that her preference for alighting on her head shall be respected, and, therefore, that the elevation chosen shall "be high enough to enable her to accomplish this to her satisfac- tion.) But I find I have wandered from my 54 ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. subject ; so, without further argument, I will reiterate my conviction that not all "babies are things of Tbeauty and joys forever. " AHITHMETICUS," Virginia, Nevada. " I am an enthusiastic student of mathematics, and it is so vexatious to me to find my progress constantly impeded by these mysterious arithmetical technicalities. Now do tell me what the difference is between geometry and conchology ?" Here you come again, with your diabolical arithmetical conundrums, when I am suffering death with a cold in the head. If you could have seen the expression of ineffable scorn that darkened my countenance a moment ago and was instantly split from the center in every di- rection like a fractured looking-glass by my last sneeze, you never would have written that disgraceful question. Conchology is a science which has nothing to do with mathematics ; it relates only to shells. At the same time, how- ever, a man who opens oysters for a hotel, or shells a fortified town, or sucks eggs, is not, strictly speaking, a conchologist a fine stroke of sarcasm, that, but it will be lost on such an intellectual clam as you. Now compare conchology and geometry together, and you will see what the difference is, and your question ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. 55 will Ibe answered. But don't torture me with, any more of your ghastly arithmetical horrors (for I do detest figures any how) until you know I am rid of my cold. I feel the bitterest animosity toward you at this moment bother- ing me in this way, when I can do nothing but sneeze and swear and snort pocket-handker- chiefs to atoms. If I had you in range of my nose, now, I would blow your brains out. " SOCEATES MUKPHY." You speak of hav- ing given offense to a gentleman at the opera by unconsciously humming an air which, the tenor was singing at the time. Now, part of that is a deliberate falsehood. You were not doing it "unconsciously;" no man does such. a mean, vulgar, egotistical thing as that uncon- sciously. You were doing it to " show off;" you wanted the people around you to know you liad been to operas before, and to think you were not such an ignorant, self-conceited, supercilious ass as you looked. I can tell you Arizona opera-sharps, any time ; you prowl around beer cellars and listen to some howling- dervish of a Dutchman exterminating an Ital- ian air, and then you come into the Academy 56 ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. and prop yourself up against the wall with the stuffy aspect and the imbecile leer of a clothing store dummy, and go to droning along about half an octave "below the tenor, and disgusting every body in your neighborhood with your beery strains. [N. B. If this rough-shod elo- quence of mine touches you on a raw spot oc- casionally, recollect that I am talking for your good, Murphy, and that I am simplifying my language so as to bring it clearly within the margin of your comprehension ; it might be gra- tifying to you to be addressed as if you were an Oxford graduate, but then you wouldn't understand it, you know.] You have got another abominable habit, my sage-brush ama- teur. When one of those Italian footmen in British uniform comes in and sings, "Otolde rol ! Signo-o-o-ra ! loango congo Yene- zue-e-e-la! whack fol de rol!" (which means, " O noble madame ! here's one of them dukes from the palace, out here, come to borrow a dollar and a half,") you always stand with ex- panded eyes and mouth, and one pile-driver uplifted, and your sprawling hands held apart in front of your face, like a couple of can- vas-covered hams, and when he gets almost ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. 57 through, how you do uncork your pent-up en- thusiasm, and applaud with hoof and palm ! You have it pretty much to yourself, and then you look sheepish when you find every "body staring at you. But how very idiotic you do look when something really fine is sung you generally keep quiet, then. Never mind, though, Murphy, entire audiences do things at the opera that they have no business to do ; for instance, they never let one of those thousand- dollar singers finish they always "break in with their ill-timed applause, just as he or she, as the case may "be, is preparing to throw all his or her concentrated sweetness into the final strain, and so all that sweetness is lost. Write me again, Murphy, I shall always Tbe happy to hear from you. AMONG THE FENIANS. |ISHINGr to post myself on one of the most current topics of the day, I, Mark, hunted up an old Mend, Dennis McCarthy, who is editor of the new Fenian journal in San Francisco, The Irish People. I found him sitting on a sumptuous candle-l>ox, in his shirt-sleeves, solacing him- self with a whiff at the national dliudeen or canteen or whatever they call it a clay pipe with no stem to speak of. I thought it might flatter him to address him in his native tongue, and so I Ibowed with considerable grace and said: "Arrah!" And he said, "Be jabers I" "Ochhone!" said I. "Mavourneen dheelish, acushla machree," replied The McCarthy. " Erin go "bragh," I continued with vivacity. AMONG THE FENIANS. 59 " Asthore !" responded The McCarthy. "Tare an' ouns 1" said I. " Bhe dha husth ; fag a rogarah lums !" said the Ibold Fenian. " Ye have me there, Ibe me sowl I" said I, (for I am not " up " in the niceties of the language, you understand ; I only know enough of it to enable me to "keep my end up" in an ordi- nary conversation.) THE STORY OF THE BAD LITTLE BOr WHO DIDN'T COME TO GRIEF. |jNCE there was a bad little "boy, whose name was Jim though, if you will notice, you will find that Tbad little Tboys are nearly always called James in your Sunday-school Tbooks. It was very strange, Tbut still it was true, that this one was called Jim. He didn't have any sick mother, either a sick mother who was pious and had the con- sumption, and would Tbe glad to lie down in the grave and Ibe at rest, Ibut for the strong love she Ibore her "boy, and the anxiety she felt that the world would "be harsh and cold towards him when she was gone. Most "bad "boys in the Sunday Tbooks are named James, and have sick mothers, who teach them to say, "Now I lay me down," etc., and sing them to sleep with, sweet plaintive voices, and then kiss them good- THE STORY OF THE BAD LITTLE SOY. 61 night, and kneel down by the "bedside and weep. But it was different with this fellow. He was named Jim, and there wasn't any thing the matter with his mother no consumption, or any thing of that kind. She was rather stout than otherwise, and she was not pious ; moreover, she was not anxious on Jim's ac- count. She said if he were to "break his neck, it wouldn't Ibe much loss. She always spanked Jim to sleep, and she never kissed him good- night ; on the contrary, she "boxed his ears when she was ready to leave him. Once this little bad "boy stole the key of the pantry and slipped in there and helped himself to some jam, and filled up the vessel with tar, so that his mother would never know the differ- ence ; "but all at once a terrible feeling didn't come over him, and something didn't seem to whisper to him, " Is it right to disobey my mother ? Isn't it sinful to do this ? Where do bad little boys go who gobble up their good kind mother's jam?" and then he didn't kneel down all alone and promise never to be wicked any more, and rise up with a light, happy h^art, and go and tell his mother all about it, and beg her forgiveness, and-be blessed by her 62 THE STORY OF THE BAD LITTLE SOY. with tears of pride and thankfulness in her eyes. No ; that is the way with all other "bad "boys in the "books ; "but it happened otherwise with this Jim, strangely enongh. He ate that jam, and said it was bully, in his sinful, vulgar way ; and he put in the tar, and said that was "bully also, and laughed, and observed that "the old woman would get up and snort" when she found it out ; and when she did find it out, he denied knowing any thing about it, and she whipped him severely, and he did the crying himself. Every thing about * this boy was curious every thing turned out differently with him from the way it does to the bad Jameses in the books. Once he climbed up in Farmer Acorn's ap- ple-tree to steal apples, and the limb didn't break, and he didn't fall and break his arm, and get torn by the farmer's great dog, and then languish on a sick bed for weeks, and re- pent and become good. Oh ! no ; he stole as many apples as he wanted, and came down all right ; and he was all ready for ^the dog, too, and knocked him endways with a rock when he came to tear him. It was very strange nothing like it ever happened in those mild lit- TEE STORY OF THE BAD LIT1LE BOY. 63 tie books with marbled backs, and with pic- tures in them of men with swallow-tailed coats, and "bell-crowned hats, and pantaloons that are short in the legs, and women with the waists of their dresses under their arms and no hoops on. Nothing like it in any of the Sunday- school Tbooks. Once he stole the teacher's penknife, and when he was afraid it would be found out, and he would get whipped, he slipped it into George Wilson's cap poor Widow Wilson's son, the moral boy, the good little boy of the village, who always obeyed his mother, and never told an untruth, and was fond of his lessons and in- fatuated with Sunday-school. And when the knife dropped from the cap, and poor George hung his head and blushed, as if in conscious guilt, and the grieved teacher charged the theft upon him, and was just in the very act of bringing the switch down upon his trembling shoulders, a white-haired improbable justice of the peace did not suddenly appear in their midst and strike an attitude and say, " spare this noble boy there stands the cowering cul- prit ! I was passing the school-door at recess, and, unseen myself, I saw the theft commit- 64 THE STORY OF THE BAD LITTLE SOY. ted!" And then Jim didn't get whaled, and the venerable justice didn't read the tearful school a homily, and take George "by the hand and say such a "boy deserved to Tbe exalted, and then tell him to come and make his home with him, and sweep out the office, and make fires, and run errands, and chop wood, and study law, and help his wife to do household labors, and have all the balance of the time to play, and get forty cents a month, and be happy. No ; it would have happened that way in the books, but it didn't happen that way to Jim. JSTo meddling old clam of a justice dropped in to make trouble, and so the model boy George got threshed, and Jim was glad of it ; because, you know, Jim hated moral boys. Jim said he was "down on them milksops." Such was the coarse language of this bad, neglected boy. But the strangest things that ever happened to Jim was the time he went boating on Sun- day and didn't get drowned, and that other time that he got caught out in the storm when he was fishing on Sunday, and didn't get struck by lightning. Why, you might look, and look, and look through the Sunday-school books, from now till next Christmas, and you would THE STOUT OF THE BAD LITTLE BOY. 65 never come across any thing like this. Oh ! no ; you would find that all the bad boys who go "boating on Sunday invariably get drowned ; and all the bad boys who get caught out in storms, when they are fishing on Sunday, infal- libly get struck by lightning. Boats with bad boys in them always upset on Sunday, and it always storms when bad boys go fishing on the Sabbath. How this Jim ever escaped is a mys- tery to me. This Jim bore a charmed life that must have been the way of it. Nothing could hurt him. He even gave the elephant in the menag- erie a plug of tobacco, and the elephant didn't knock the top of his head off with his trunk. He browsed around the cupboard after essence of peppermint, and didn't make a mistake and drink- aqua fortis. He stole his father's gun and went hunting on the Sabbath, and didn't shoot three or four of his fingers off. He struck his little sister on the temple with his fist when he was angry, and she didn't linger in pain through long summer days, and die with sweet ' words of forgiveness upon her lips that redou- * bled the anguish of his breaking heart. No ; she got over it. He ran off and went to sea at 66 THE STORY OF THE BAD LITTLE SOY. last, and didn't come Iback and find himself sad and alone in the world, his loved ones sleeping in the quiet churchyard, and the vine- embowered home of his "boyhood tumbled down and gone to decay. Ah! no; he came home drunk as a piper, and got into the station-house the first thing. And he grew up, and married, and raised a large family, and brained them all with an ax one night, and got wealthy by all manner of cheating and rascality, and now he is the infer- nalest wickedest scoundrel in his native village, and is universally respected, and belongs to the Legislature. So you see there never was a bad James in the Sunday-school books that had such a streak of luck as this sinful Jim with the charmed life. CURING A COLD. |T is a good thing, perhaps, to write for the amusement of the public, but it is a far higher and nobler thing to write for their instruction, their profit, their actual and tangible benefit. The latter is the sole ob- ject of this article. If it prove the means of restoring to health one solitary sufferer among my race, of lighting up once more the fire of hope and joy in his faded eyes, of bringing back to his dead heart again the quick, gener- ous impulses of other days, I shall be amply rewarded for my labor ; my soul will be per- meated with the sacred delight a Christian feels when he has done a good, unselfish deed. Having led a pure and blameless life, I am justified in believing that no man who knows me will reject the suggestions I am about to make, out of fear that I am trying to deceive him. Let the public do itself the honor to read 68 CURING A COLD. \ my experience in doctoring a cold, as herein set forth, and then follow in my footsteps. When the White House was Iburned in Vir- ginia, I lost my home, my happiness, my con- stitution, and my trunk. The loss of the two first-named articles was a matter of no great consequence, since a home without a mother or a sister, or a distant young female relative in it, to remind you, Iby putting your soiled linen out of sight and taking your boots down off the mantle-piece, that there are those who think about you and care for you, is easily ob- tained. And I cared nothing for the loss of my happiness, because, not being a poet, it could not be possible that melancholy would abide with me long. But to lose a good constitution and a better" trunk were serious misfortunes. On the day of the fire my constitution suc- cumbed to a severe cold caused by undue exer- tion in getting ready to do something. I suf- fered to no purpose, too, because the plan I was figuring at for the extinguishing of the fire was so elaborate that I never got it completed until the middle of the following week. The first time I began to sneeze, a friend told CUEING A COLD. 69 me to go and Tbatlie my feet in hot water and go to "bed. I did so. Shortly afterward, another friend advised me to get tip and take a cold shower-bath. I did that also. Within the hour, another friend assured me that it was policy to "feed a cold and starve a fever." I had "both. So I thought it "best to fill myself up for the cold, and then keep dark and let the fever starve awhile. In a case of this kind, I seldom do things by halves ; I ate pretty heartily ; I conferred my custom upon a stranger who had just opened his restaurant that morning ; he waited near me in respectful silence until I had finished feeding my cold, when he inquired if the peo- ple albout Virginia were much afflicted with colds ? I told him I thought they were. He then went out and took in his sign. I started down toward the office, and on the way encoun- tered another Ibosom friend, who told me that a quart of salt water, taken warm, would come as near curing a cold as any thing in the world. I hardly thought I had room for it, but I tried it any how. The result was surprising. I "believe I threw up my immortal soul. Now, as I am giving my experience only for 70 CURING A COLD. the benefit of those who are troubled with the distemper I am writing about, I feel that they will see the propriety of my cautioning them against following such portions of it as proved inefficient with me, and acting upon this convic- tion, I warn them against warm salt water. It may Tbe a good enough remedy, Ibut I think it is too severe. If I had another cold in the head, and there were no course left me but to take either an earthquake or a quart of warm salt water, I would take my chances on the earthquake. After the storm which had "been raging in my stomach had subsided, and no more good Sa- maritans happening along, I went on borrowing handkerchiefs again and blowing them to atoms, as had been my custom in the early stages of my cold, until I came across a lady who had just arrived from over the plains, and who said she had lived in a part of the country where doctors were scarce, and had from neces- sity acquired considerable skill in the treat- ment of simple " family complaints." I knew she must have had much experience, for she appeared to be a hundred and fifty years old. She mixed a decoction composed of molasses, CURING A COLD. 71 aqua fortis, turpentine, and various other drugs, and instructed me to take a wine-glass full of it every fifteen minutes. I never took "but one dose ; that was enough ; it rolblbed me of all moral principle, and awoke every unworthy impulse of my nature. Tinder its malign influ- ence my Tbrain conceived miracles of meanness, "but my hands were too feelble to execute them ; at that time, had it not teen that my strength had surrendered to a succession of assaults from infallible remedies for my cold, I am satis- fied that I would have tried to rob the grave- yard. Like most other people I often feel mean, and act accordingly ; Ibut until I took that medicine I had never reveled in such supernatural de- pravity and felt proud of it. At the end of two days I was ready to go to doctoring again. I took a few more unfailing remedies, and finally drove my cold from my head to my lungs. I got to coughing incessantly, and my voice fell Ibelow zero ; I conversed in a thundering Tbase, two octaves Ibelow my natural tone ; I could only compass my regular nightly repose by coughing myself down to a state of utter ex- 72 CUEING A COLD. haustion, and then the moment I "began to talk in my sleep, my discordant voice woke me up again. My case grew more and more serious every day. Plain gin was recommended ; I took it. Then gin and molasses ; I took that also. Then gin and onions ; I added the onions, and took all three. I detected no particular result, however, except that I had acquired a "breath like a "buzzard's. I found I had to travel for my health. I went to Lake Bigler with my reportorial com- rade, Wilson. It is gratifying to me to reflect that we traveled in considerable style ; we went in the Pioneer coach, and my friend took all his "baggage with him, consisting of two excel- lent silk handkerchiefs and a daguerreotype of his grandmother. We sailed and hunted and fished and danced all day, and I doctored my cough all night. By managing in this way, I made out to improve every hour in the twenty- four. But my disease continued to grow worse. A sheet-Tbath was recommended. I had never refused a remedy yet, and it seemed poor poli- cy to commence then ; therefore I determined CURING A COLD. 73 to take a sheet-bath, notwithstanding I had no idea what sort of arrangement it was. It was administered at midnight, and the weather was very frosty. My Ibreast and "back were "bared, and a sheet (there appeared to Ibe a thousand yards of it) soaked in ice-water was wound around me until I resembled a swab for * a Columbiad. It is a cruel expedient. When the chilly rag touches one's warm flesh, it makes him start with sudden violence and gasp for breath just as men do in the death agony. It froze the marrow in my bones and stopped the beating of my heart. I thought my time had come. Young Wilson said the circumstance re- minded him of an anecdote about a negro who was being baptized, and who slipped from the parson's grasp, and came near being drowned. He floundered around, though, and finally rose up out of the water considerably strangled and furiously angry, and started ashore at once, spouting water like a whale, and remarking, with great asperity, that "One o' dese days some gen'lman's nigger gwyne to git killed wid jes' such dam foolishness as dis!" 74 CUEING A COLD. Never take a sheet-bath. never. Next to meeting a lady acquaintance, who, for reasons Tbest known to herself, don't see you when she looks at you, and don't know you when she does see you, it is -the most uncomfortable thing in the world. But, as I was saying, when the sheet-bath failed to cure my cough, a lady friend recom- * mended the application of a mustard plaster to my breast. I believe that would have cured me effectually, if it had not been for young Wilson. When I went to bed, I put my mus- tard plaster which was a very gorgeous one, eighteen inches square where I could reach it when I was ready for it. But young Wilson got hungry in the night, and ate it up. I never saw any body have such an appetite ; I am con- fident that lunatic would have eaten me if I had been healthy. After sojourning a week at Lake Bigler, I went to Steamboat Springs, and beside the steam baths, I took a lot of the vilest medicines that were ever concocted. They would have cured me, but I had to go back to Virginia, where, notwithstanding the variety of new reme- dies I absorbed every day, I managed to aggra- CURING A COLD. 75 vate my disease "by carelessness and undue ex- posure. I finally concluded to visit San Francisco, and the first day I got there, a lady at the Lick House told me to drink a quart of whisky every twenty-four hours, and a friend at the Occiden- tal recommended precisely the same course. Each advised me to take a quart ; that made half a gallon. I did it, and still live. Now, with the kindest motives in the world, I offer for the consideration of consumptive pa- tients the variegated course of treatment I have lately gone through. Let them try it ; if it don't cure them, it can't more than kill them. AN INQUIRY ABOUT INSURANCES. DOMING down from Sacramento tlie other night, I found on a center- table in the saloon of the steamboat, a pamphlet advertisement of an Accident In- surance Company. It interested me a good deal, with its General Accidents, and its Haz- ardous Tables, and Extra-Hazardous furniture of the same description, and I would like to know something more about it. It is a new thing to me. I want to invest if I come to like it. I want to ask merely a few questions of the man who carries on this Accident shop. For I am an orphan. He publishes this list as accidents he is will- ing to insure people against. General accidents include the Traveling Risk, and also all forms of Dislocations, Broken Bones, Ruptures, Tendons, Sprains, Concus- sions, Crushings, Bruising, Cuts, Stabs, Gun- AN INQUIRY ABOUT INSURANCES. 77 shot Wounds, Poisoned Wounds, Burns and Scalds, Freezing, Bites, Unprovoked Assaults Tby Burglars, Bobbers, or Murderers, the action of Lightning or Sunstroke, the effects of Explo- sions, Chemicals, Floods, and Earthquakes, Suffocation by Drowning or Choking where such accidental injury totally disables the per- son insured from following his usual avocation, or causes death within three months from the time of the happening of the injury. I want to address this party as follows : Now, Smith I suppose likely your name is Smith you don't know me -and I don't know you, but I am willing to be friendly. I am ac- quainted with a good many of your family I know John as well as I know any man and I think we can come to an understanding about your little game without any hard feelings. For instance : Do you allow the same money on a dog-bite that you do on an earthquake ? Do you take special risks for specific accidents ? that is to say, could I, by getting a policy for dog-bites alone, get it cheaper than if I took a chance in your whole lottery ? And if so, and supposing I got insured against earthquakes, would you 78 AN INQUIRY ABOUT INSURANCES. charge any more for San Francisco earthquakes than for those that prevail in places that are "better anchored down ? And if I had a policy on earthquakes alone, I couldn't collect on a dog-bite, may "be, could I ? If a man had such a policy, and an earth- quake shook him up and loosened his joints a good deal, but not enough to incapacitate him from engaging in pursuits which did not re- quire him to "be tight, wouldn't you pay him some of his pension ? I notice you do not men- tion Biles. How about Biles ? Why do you discriminate between Provoked and Unpro- voked Assaults by Burglars ? If a burglar en- tered my house at dead of night, and I, in the excitement natural to such an occasion, should forget myself and say something that provoked him, and he should cripple me, wouldn't I get any thing ? But if I provoked him by pure accident, I would have you there, I judge ; be- cause you would have to pay for the Accident part of it any how, seeing that insuring against accidents is just your strong suit, you know. Now, that item about protecting a man against freezing is good. It will procure you all the custom you want in this country. Because, AN INQUIRY ABOUT INSURANCES. 79 you understand, the people hereabouts have suffered a good deal from just such climatic drawbacks as that. Why, three years ago, if a man "being a small fish in the matter of money went over to Washoe, and "bought into a good silver mine, they would let that man go on and pay assessments till his purse got down to about thirty-two Fahrenheit, and then the big fish would close in on him and freeze him out. And from that day forth you might con- sider that man in the light of a bankrupt com- munity ; and you would have him down to a spot, too. But if you are ready to insure against that sort of thing, and can stand it, you can give Washoe a fair start. You might send me an agency. Business? Why, Smith, I could get you more business than you could attend to. With such an understanding as that, the boys would all take a chance. You don't appear to make any particular mention of taking risks on blighted affections. But if you should conclude to do a little busi- ness in that line, you might put me down for six or seven chances. I wouldn't mind ex- pense you might enter it on the extra hazard- ous. I suppose I would get ahead of you in 80 AN INQUIRY ABOUT INSURANCES. the long run any how, likely. I have "been "blighted a good deal in my time. But now as to those " Effects of Lightning." Suppose the lightning were to strike out at one of your men and miss him, and fetch another party could that other party come on you for damages ? Or could the relatives of the party thus suddenly snaked out of the "bright world -in the bloom of his youth come on you in case he was crowded for time ? as of course he would "be, you know, under such circumstances. You say you have " issued over sixty thou- sand policies, forty-five of which have proved fatal and Ibeen paid for." Now, do you know, Smith, that that looks just a little shaky to me, in a measure ? You appear to have it pretty much all your own way, you see. It is all very well for the lucky forty-five that have died " and "been paid for," Tbut how albout the other fifty-nine thousand nine hundred and fifty-five ? You have got their money, haven't you ? Tbut somehow the lightning don't seem to strike them and they don't get any chance at you. Won't their families get fatigued waiting for their dividends ? Don't your customers drop off rather slow, so to speak ? AN INQUIRY ABOUT INSURANCE. 81 You will ruin yourself publishing such, dam- aging statements as that, Smith. I tell you as a friend. If you had said that the fifty-nine thousand nine hundred and fifty-five died, and that forty-five lived, you would have issued about four tons of policies the next week. But people are not going to get insured, when you take so much pains to prove that there is such precious little use in it. Good-by Smith ! LITERATURE IN THE DRY DIGGINGS. JLTHOTJGH a resident of San Fran- cisco, I never heard much, about the "Art Union Association" of that city until I got hold of some old news- papers during my three months' stay in the Big Tree region of Calaveras county. Up there, you know, they read every thing, "because in most of those little camps they have no libraries, and no books to speak of, except now and then a patent office report or a prayer- book, or literature of that kind, in a general way, that will hang on and last a good while when people are careful with it, like miners ; but as for novels, they pass them around and wear them out in a week or two. Now there was Coon, a nice, bald-headed man at the hotel in Angels' Camp, I asked him to lend me a book, one rainy day ; he was silent a moment, and a shade of melancholy flitted across his LITERATURE IN THE DRY &IGGHW& 83 fine face, and then lie said: "Well, I've got a mighty responsible old Webster Unabridged, what there is left of it, "but they started her sloshing aronnd and sloshing around and sloshing around the camp before ever I got a chance to read her myself ; and next she went to Murphy's, and from there she went to Jack- ass Gulch, and now she's gone to San An- dreas, and I don't expect I'll ever see that book again. But what makes me mad is, that for all they're so handy about keeping her sashshaying around from shanty to shanty and from camp to camp, none of 'em's ever got a good word for her. Now Coddington had her a week, and she was too many for Jiim he couldn't spell the words ; he tackled some of them regular busters, tow'rd the middle, you know, and they throwed him ; next, Dyer, Tie tried her a jolt, but he couldn't pronounce 'em Dyer can hunt quail or play seven-up as well as any man, understand, but he can't pro- nounce worth a cuss ; he used to worry along well enough, though, till he'd flush one of them rattlers with a clatter of syllables as long as a string of sluice-boxes, and then he'd lose his grip and throw up his hand ; and so, finally, 84 LITEEATUEE IN THE LET DIGGINGS. Pick Stoker harnessed her, up there at Ms caTbin, and sweated over her and cussed over her and rastled with her for as much as three weeks, night and day, till he got as far as K, and then passed her over to 'Lige Pickerell, and said she was the all-firedest dryest reading that ever Tie struck. Well, well, if she's come "back from San Andreas, you can get her, and prospect her, "but I don't reckon there's a good deal left of her Tby this time, though time was when she was as likely a book as any in the State, and as hefty, and had an amount of general information in her that was astonishing, if any of these cattle had known enough to get it out of her." And ex-corporal Coon proceeded cheerlessly to scout with his "brush after the straggling hairs on the rear of his head and drum them to the front for inspection and roll-call, as was his usual custom Ibefore turning in for his regular after- noon nap. ''AFTER" JENKINS. GKAKD affair of a Iball the Pio- neers' came off at the Occidental some time ago. The following notes of the costumes worn "by the "belles of the occasion may not "be uninteresting to the gen- eral reader, and Jenkins may get an idea therefrom : Mrs. W. M. was attired in an elegant pate de foie gras, made expressly for her, and was greatly admired. Miss S. had her hair done up. She was the center of attraction for the gentlemen and the envy of all the ladies. Miss GK W. was tastefully dressed in a tout ensemble, and was greeted with deafening ap- plause wherever she went. Mrs. C. 1ST. was superbly arrayed in white kid gloves. Her modest and engaging manner accorded well with the unpretending simplicity 86 "AFTER" JENKINS. of her costume, and caused lier to be regarded with, absorbing interest by every one. The charming Miss M. M. B. appeared in a thrilling waterfall, whose exceeding grace and volume compelled the homage of pioneers and emigrants alike. How beautiful she was ! The queenly Mrs. L. K. was attractively at- tired in her new and beautiful false teeth, and the bonjour effect they naturally produced was heightened by her enchanting and well sus- tained smile. The manner 'of the lady is charmingly pensive ajid melancholy, and her troops of admirers desired no greater happiness than to get on the scent of her sozodont-sweet- ened sighs, and track her through her sinuous course among the gay and restless multitude. Miss Bu P., with that repugnance to ostenta- tion in dress, which is so peculiar to her, was attired in a simple white lace collar, fastened with a neat pearl-button solitaire. The fine contrast between the sparkling vivacity of her natural optic and the steadfast attentiveness of her placid glass eye, was the subject of general and enthusiastic remark. The radiant and sylph-like Mrs. T. wore hoops. She showed to good advantage, and "AFTER" JENKINS. 87 created a sensation wherever she appeared. She was the gayest of the gay. Miss C. L. B. had her fine nose elegantly en- ameled, and the easy grace with which she Iblew it from time to time, marked her as a cul- tivated and accomplished woman of the world ; its exquisitely modulated tone excited the admiration of all who had the happiness to hear it. Being offended with Miss X. and our ac- quaintance having ceased permanently, I will take this opportunity of observing to her that it is of no use for her to Ibe slopping off to every ball that takes place, and flourishing around with a brass oyster-knife skewered through her waterfall, and smiling her sickly smile through her decayed teeth, with her dis- mal pug nose in the air. There is no use in it she don't fool any body. Every body knows she is old ; every body knows she is repaired (you might almost say built) with artificial bones and hair and muscles and things, from the ground up put .together scrap by scrap ; and every body knows, also, that all one would have to do would be to pull out her key-pin and she would go to pieces like a Chinese puz- 88 "AFTER" JENKINS. zle. There, now, my faded flower, take that paragraph home with you and amuse yourself with it ; and if ever you turn your wart of a nose up at me again, I will sit down and write something that will just make you rise up and howl. LUCRETIA SMITH'S SOLDIER. AM an ardent admirer of those nice, sickly war stories wMcli have lately been so popular, and for tlie last three months I have Ibeen at work upon one of that character, which is now completed. It can be relied upon as true in every particular, inas- much as the facts it contains were compiled from the official records in the War Depart- ment at Washington. It is but just, also, that I should confess that I have drawn largely on JominVs Art of War, the Message of the Pres- ident and Accompanying Documents, and sun- dry maps and military works, so necessary for reference in building a novel like this. To the accommodating Directors of the Overland Tele- graph Company I take pleasure in returning my thanks for tendering me the use of their wires at the customary rates. And finally, to all those kind friends who have, by good deeds 90 LUCRETIA SMITH'S SOLDIER. or encouraging words, assisted me in my labors upon this story of " Lucretia Smith's Soldier," during the past three months, and whose names are too numerous for special mention, I take this method of tendering my sincerest grati- tude. CHAPTER I. a "balmy May morning in 1861, the lit- .tle village of Bluemass, in Massachusetts, lay wrapped in the splendor of the newly-risen sun. Reginald de Whittaker, confidential and only clerk in the house of Bushrod & Ferguson, gen- eral drygoods and grocery dealers and keep- ers of the post-office, rose from his "bunk under the counter, and shook himself. After yawn- ing and stretching comfortably, he sprinkled the floor and proceeded to sweep it. He had only half finished his task, however, when he sat down on a keg of nails and fell into a reve- rie. " This is my last day in this shanty," said he. " How it will surprise Lucretia when she hears I am going for a soldier ! How proud she will Tbe, the little darling!" He pictured LUGRETIA SMITH'S SOLDIER. 91 * Minself in all manner of warlike situations ; the hero of a thousand extraordinary adventures ; the man of rising fame ; the pet of Fortune at last ; and "beheld himself, finally, returning to his own home, a bronzed and scarred brigadier- general, to cast his honors and his matured and perfect love at the feet of his Lucretia Borgia Smith. At this point a thrill of joy and pride suf- fused his system ; but he looked down and saw his broom, and blushed. He came toppling down from the clouds he had been soaring among, and was an obscure clerk again, on a salary of two dollars and a half a week. CHAPTER II. AT eight o'clock that evening, with a heart palpitating with the proud news he had brought for his beloved, Reginald sat in Mr. Smith's parlor awaiting Lucretia' s appearance. The moment she entered, he sprang to meet her, his face lighted by the torch of love that was blaz- ing in his head somewhere and shining through, 92 LUCEET1A SMITH'S SOLDIER. and ejaculated, "Mine own !" as lie opened Ms arms to receive her. " Sir I" said she, and drew herself up like an offended queen. Poor Keginald was stricken dumb with as- tonishment. This chilling demeanor, this angry rebuff, where he had expected the old, tender welcome, banished the gladness from his heart as the cheerful brightness is swept from the landscape when a dark cloud drifts athwart the face of the sun. He stood bewildered a moment, with a sense of goneness on him like one who finds himself suddenly overboard upon a midnight sea, and beholds the ship pass into shrouding gloom, while the dreadful conviction falls upon his soul that he has not been missed. He tried to speak, but his pallid lips refused their office. At last he murmured : " O Lucretia ! what have I done ; what is the matter; why this cruel coldness? Don't you love your Reginald any more 3" Her lips curled in bitter scorn, and she re- plied, in mocking tones : " Don't I love my Reginald any more ? No, I don't love my .Reginald any more ! Go back to your pitiful junk-shop and grab your pitiful LUCRETIA SMITH'S SOLDIER. 93 yard- stick, and stuff cotton in your ears, so that you can't hear your country shout to you to fall in and shoulder arms. Go !" And then, unheeding the new light that flashed from his eyes, she fled from the room and slammed the door behind her. Only a moment more! Only a single mo- ment more, he thought, and he could have told her how he had already answered the summons and signed his name to the muster-roll, and all would have "been well ; his lost "bride would have come "back to his arms with words of praise and thanksgiving upon her lips. He made a step forward, once, to recall her, "but he remembered that he was no longer an effemi- % nate drygoods student, and his warrior soul scorned to sue for quarter. He strode from the place with martial firmness, and never looked behind him. CHAPTER III. Lucretia awoke next morning, the faint music of fife and the roll of a distant drum 94: LUCRETIA SMITH'S SOLDIEE. came floating upon the soft spring Tbreeze, and as slie listened the sounds grew more subdued, and finally passed out of hearing. She lay ab- sorbed in thought for many minutes, and then she sighed and said: "Oh! if he were only with that band of fellows, how I could love him!" In the course of the day a neighbor dropped in, and when the conversation turned upon the soldiers, the visitor said : 'Keginald de Whittaker looked rather down-hearted, and didn't shout when he marched along with the other boys this morn- ing. I expect it's owing to you, Miss Loo, though when I met him coming here yesterday evening to tell you he'd enlisted, he thought you'd like it and be proud of Mercy! * what in the nation's the matter with the girl ?" Nothing, only a sudden misery had fallen like a blight upon her heart, and a deadly pallor telegraphed it to her countenance. She rose up without a word and walked with a firm step out of the room ; but once within the sacred seclusion of her own chamber, her strong will gave way and she burst into a flood of passionate tears. Bitterly she upbraided LUCEETIA SMITH'S SOLDIER. 95 herself for her foolish haste of the night before, and her harsh treatment of her lover at the very moment that he had come to anticipate the proudest wish of her heart, and to tell her that he had enrolled himself under the battle-flag, and was going forth to fight as Tier soldier. Alas! other maidens would have soldiers in those glorious fields, and be entitled to the sweet pain of feeling a tender solicitude for them, but she would be unrepresented. No soldier in all the vast armies would breathe her name as he breasted the crimson tide of war ! She wept again or, rather, she went on weep- ing where she left off a moment before. In her bitterness of spirit she almost cursed the pre- cipitancy that had brought all this sorrow upon her young life. "Drat it !" The words were in her bosom, but she locked them there, and closed her lips against their utterance. For weeks she nursed her grief in silence, while the roses faded from her cheeks. And through it all she clung to the hope that some day the old love would bloom again in Regi- nald' s heart, and he would write to her ; but the long summer days dragged wearily along, and still no letter came. The newspapers 96 LUCRETIA SMITH'S SOLDIER. teemed with stories of Ibattle and carnage, and eagerly she read them, Ibnt always with the same result : the tears welled up and blurred the closing lines the name she sought was looked for in vain, and the dull aching returned to her sinking heart. Letters to the other girls sometimes contained brief mention of him, and presented always the same picture of him a morose, unsmiling, desperate man, always in the thickest of the fight, Ibegrimed with powder, and moving calm and unscathed through tem- pests of shot and shell, as if he bore a charmed life. But at last, in a long list of maimed and killed, poor Lucretia read these terrible words, and fell fainting to the floor : " R. D. WTiitta- Jcer, private soldier, desperately wounded!". CHAPTER IV. OJST a couch in one of the wards of a hospital at "Washington lay a wounded soldier ; his head was so profusely bandaged that his features were not visible ; but there was no mistaking the happy face of the young girl who sat be- LUCRETIA SMITH'S SOLDIER. 97 side Mm it was Lucretia Borgia Smith.' s. She had hunted him out several weeks before, and since that time she had patiently watched by him and nursed him, coining in the morning as soon as the surgeon had finished dressing his wounds, and never leaving him until relieved at nightfall. A ball had shattered his lower jaw, and he could not utter a syllable ; through all her weary vigils she had never once been blessed with a grateful word from his dear lips ; yet she stood to her post bravely and without a murmur, feeling that when he did get well again she would hear that which, would more than reward her for all her devotion. At the hour we have chosen for the opening of this chapter, Lucretia was in a tumult of happy excitement ; for the surgeon had told her that at last lier Whittaker had recovered suffi- ciently to admit of the removal of the ban- dages from his head, and she was now waiting with feverish impatience for the doctor to come and disclose the loved features to her view. At last he came, and Lucretia, with beaming eyes and fluttering heart, bent over the couch with anxious expectancy. One bandage was re- moved, then another and another, and lo ! the 98 LUCRETIA SMITH'S SOLDIER. poor wounded face was revealed to the light of day. " O my own dar What have we here ! What is the matter ! Alas ! it was the face of a stranger ! Poor Lucretia ! With one hand covering her upturned eyes, she staggered back with a moan of anguish. Then a spasm of fury distorted her countenance as she brought her fist down with a crash that made the medicine "bottles on the table dance again, and exclaimed : , "Oh! confound my cats, if I haven't gone and fooled away three mortal weeks here, snuf- fling and slobbering over the wrong soldier !" It was a sad, sad truth. The wretched but innocent and unwitting impostor was R. D., or Richard Dilworthy Whittaker, of Wisconsin, the soldier of dear little Eugenie Le Mulligan, of that State, and utterly unknown to our un- happy Lucretia B. Smith. Such is life, and the tail of the serpent is over us all. Let us draw the curtain over this melancholy history for melancholy it must still remain, during a season at least, for the real Reginald de Whittaker has not turned up yet. THE KILLING OP JULIUS CJESAR " LOCALIZED." BEING THE ONLY TEUE AND EELIABLE AC- COUNT EVER PUBLISHED ; TAKEN FROM THE ROMAN " DAILY EVENING FASCES," OF THE DATE OF THAT TREMENDOUS OCCURRENCE. iOTHING- in the world affords a news- paper reporter so much satisfaction as gathering up the details of a bloody and mysterious murder, and writing them up with aggravated circumstantiality. He takes a living delight in this lalbor of love for such it is to him especially if he knows that all the other papers have gone to press, and his will be the only one that will contain the dreadful intelligence. A feeling of regret has often come over me that I was not report- 100 KILLING OF JULIUS CJESAR. ing in Rome wlien Csesar was killed reporting on an evening paper, and the only one in the city, and getting at least twelve hours ahead of the morning paper boys with this most mag- nificent "item" that ever fell to the lot of the craft. Other events have happened as startling as this, Ibut none that possessed so peculiarly all the characteristics of the favorite "item" of the present. day, magnified into grandeur and sublimity by the high rank, fame, and social and political standing of the actors in it. In imagination I have seen myself skirmishing around old Rome, button-holing soldiers, sen- ators, and citizens by turns, and transferring "all the particulars" from them to my note- book ; and, better still, arriving at the base of Pompey' s statue in time to say persuasively to the dying Caesar, " Oh ! come now, you an't so far gone, you know, but what you could stir yourself up a little and tell a fellow just how this thing happened, if you was a mind to, couldn't you ? now do !" and get the "straight of it" from his own lips, and be envied by the morning paper hounds ! Ah! if I had lived in those days, I would have written up that item gloatingly, and spiced KILLING OF it with a little moralizing* here* and' plenty' of blood there ; and some dark, shuddering mys- tery ; and praise and pity for some, and mis- representation and albnse for others, (who did not patronize the paper,) and gory gashes, and , notes of warning as to the tendency of the times, and extravagant descriptions of the ex- citement in the Senate-house and the street, and all that sort of thing. However, as I was not permitted to report Caesar's assassination in the regular way, it has at least afforded me rare satisfaction to trans- late the following able account of it from the original Latin of the Roman Daily Evening Fasces of that date second edition. " Our usually quiet city of Rome was thrown into a state of wild excitement yesterday by the occurrence of one of those bloody affrays which sicken the heart and fill the soul with fear, while they inspire all thinking men with forebodings for the future of a city where hu- man life is held so cheaply, and the gravest laws are so openly set at defiance. As the re- sult of that affray, it is our painful duty, as public journalists, to record the death of one of our most esteemed citizens a man whose OF JULIUS n^)ii.eris^kiiowa'-wlierever this paper circulates, and whose fame it has Tbeen our pleasure and our privilege to extend, and also to protect from the tongue of slander and falsehood, to the Tbest of our poor ability. "We refer to Mr. J. Caesar, the Emperor-elect. "The facts of the case, as nearly as our re- porter could determine them from the conflict- ing statements of eye-witnesses, were about as follows : The affair was an election row, of course. Nine tenths of the ghastly butcheries that disgrace the city nowaday^ grow out of the bickerings and jealousies and animosities engendered by these accursed elections. Rome would be the gainer by it if her very constables were elected to serve a century ; for in our ex- perience we have never even been able to choose a dog-pelter without celebrating the event with a dozen knock-downs and a general cramming of the station-house with drunken vagabonds over night. It is said that when the immense majority for Csesar at the polls in the market was declared the other day, and the crown was offered to that gentleman, even his amazing unselfishness in refusing it three times was not sufficient to save him from the whis- KILLING OF JULIUS C^SAR. 1Q3 pered insults of such men as Casca, of the Tenth Ward, and other hirelings of the disappointed candidate, hailing mostly from the Eleventh and Thirteenth and other outside districts, who were overheard speaking ironically and con- temptuously of Mr. Caesar's conduct upon that occasion. "We are further informed that there are many among us who think they are justified in "believing that the assassination of Julius Csesar was a put-up thing a cut-and-dried arrange- ment, hatched Tby Marcus Brutus and a lot of his hired roughs, and carried out only too faith- fully according to the programme. Whether there "be good grounds for this suspicion or not, we leave to the people to judge for themselves, only asking that they will read the following account of the sad occurrence carefully and dispassionately before they render that judg- ment. "The Senate was already in session, and Csesar was coming down the street toward the capitol, conversing with some personal friends, and followed, as usual, by a large number of citizens. Just as he was passing in front of De- mosthenes & Thucydides's drug-store, he was 104 KILLING OF JULIUS CJSSAR. observing casually to a gentleman, who, our in- formant thinks, is a fortune-teller, that the Ides of March were come. The reply was, ' Yes, they are come, but not gone yet.' At this mo- ment Artemidorus stepped up and passed the time of day, and asked Caesar to read a sche- dule or a tract, or something of the kind, which he had brought for his perusal. Mr. Decius Brutus also said something about an c humble suit ' which Tie wanted read. Artemidorus beg- ged that attention might be paid to his first, be- cause it was of personal consequence to Csesar. The latter replied that what concerned him- self should be read last, or words to that effect. Artemidorus begged and beseeched him to read the paper instantly.* However, Csesar shook him off, and refused to read any petition in the street. He then entered the capitol, and the crowd followed him. " About this time the following conversation was overheard, and we consider that, taken in connection with the events which succeeded it, * Mark that : it is hinted by William Shakespeare, who saw the beginning and the end of the unfortunate affray, that this " schedule " was simply a note discovering to Csesar that a plot was brewing to take his life. KILLING OF JULIUS C^SAR. 105 it bears an appalling significance : Mr. Papilius Lena remarked to George W. Cassius, (com- monly known as tlie ' ISTobby Boy of tlie Third Ward,') a bruiser in the pay of the Opposition, that he hoped his enterprise to-day might thrive; and when Cassias asked, 'What en- terprise?' he only closed his left eye tempo- rarily and said with simulated indifference, < Fare you well,' and sauntered toward Caesar. Marcus Brutus, who is suspected of being the ringleader of the band that killed Csesar, asked what it was that Lena had said. Cassius told him, and added in a low tone, 'I fear our pur- pose is discovered* " Brutus told his wretched accomplice to keep an eye on Lena, and a moment after Cassius urged that lean and hungry vagrant, Casca, whose reputation here is none of the best, to be sudden, for Tie feared prevention. He then turned to Brutus, apparently much excited, and asked what should be done, and swore that either he or Csesar should never turn back he would kill himself first. At this time Csesar was talking to some of the back-country members about the approaching fall elections, and paying little attention to what was going 106 KILLING OF JULIUS on around Mm. Billy Trelbonius got into con- versation with, the people's Mend and Csesar's Mark Antony and nnder some pretense or other got him away, and Brutus, Decius Casca, Cinna, Metellus Cimber, and others of the gang of infamous desperadoes that infest Rome at present, closed around the doomed Csesar. Then Metellus Cimber knelt down and "begged that his "brother might "be recalled from "banish- ment, but Csesar rebuked him for his fawning, sneaking conduct, and refused to grant his pe- tition. Immediately, at Cimber's request, first Brutus and then Cassius begged for the return of the banished Publius ; but Csesar still re- fused. He said he could not be moved ; that lie was as fixed as the North Star, and pro- ceeded to speak in the most complimentary terms of the firmness of that star, and its steady character. Then he said he was like it, and he believed he was the only man in the country that was; therefore, since he was ' constant' that Cimber should be banished, he was also 4 constant' that lie should stay banished, and lie'd be d d if he didn't keep him so ! " Instantly seizing upon this shallow pretext for a fight, Casca sprang at Csesar and struck KILLING OF JULIUS C^ESAB. 107 him with a dirk, Caesar grabbing Mm by the arm with his right hand, and launching a blow straight from the shoulder with his left, that sent the reptile bleeding to the earth. He then backed up against Pompey's statue, and squared himself to receive his assailants. Cas- sius and Cimber and Cinna rushed upon him with their daggers drawn, and the former suc- ceeded in inflicting a wound upon his body ; but before he could strike again, and before either of the others could strike at all, Csesar stretched the three miscreants at his feet with as many blows of his powerful fist. By this time the Senate was in an indescribable uproar ; the throng of citizens in the lobbies had block- aded the doors in their frantic efforts to escape from the building, the sergeant-at-arms and his assistants were struggling with the assassins, venerable senators had cast aside their encum- bering robes, and were leaping over benches and flying down the aisles in wild confusion toward the shelter of the committee-rooms, and a thousand voices were shouting, ' Po-lice ! Po-lice !' in discordant tones that rose above the frightful din like shrieking winds above the roaring of a tempest. And amid it all, 108 KILLING OF JULIUS C^ESAK. great Caesar stood with his "back against the statue, like a lion at bay, and fought his assail- ants weaponless and hand to hand, with the defiant "bearing and the unwavering courage which he had shown Ibefore on many a bloody field. Billy Trebonius and Caius Legarius struck him with their daggers and fell, as their brother-conspirators before them had fallen. But at last, when Caesar saw his old friend Brutus step forward, armed with a murderous knife, it is said he seemed utterly overpowered with grief and amazement, and dropping his in- vincible left arm by his side, he hid his face in the folds of his mantle and received the treach- erous blow without an effort to stay the hand that gave it. He only said, ' J3t in, Brute ^ and fell lifeless on the marble pavement. " We learn that the coat deceased had on when he was killed was the same he wore in his tent on the afternoon of the day he overcame the Nervii, and that when it was removed from the corpse it was found to be cut and gashed in no less than seven different places. There was noth- ing in the pockets. It will be exhibited at the coroner's inquest, and will be damning proof of the fact of the killing. These latter facts may KILLING OF JULIUS CAESAR. 109 be relied on, as we get them from Mark Antony, whose position enables him to learn every item of news connected with the one subject of ab- sorbing interest of to-day. " LATEE. While the coroner was summon- t ing a jury, Mark Antony and other friends of the late Caesar got hold of the body, and lugged it off to the Forum, and at last accounts Antony and Brutus were making speeches over it and raising such a row among the people that, as we go to press, the chief of police is satisfied there is going to be a riot, and is taking mea- sures accordingly." AN ITEM WHICH THE EDITOR HIMSELF COULD NOT UNDERSTAND. j|UR esteemed friend, Mr. John WiUiam Skae, of Virginia City, walked into the office where we are sub-editor at a late hour last night, with an expression of profound and heartfelt suffering upon his coun- tenance, and, sighing heavily, laid the following item reverently upon the desk, and walked slowly out again. He paused a moment at the door, and seemed struggling to command his feelings sufficiently to enable him to speak, and then, nodding his head toward his manuscript, ejaculated in a broken voice, " Friend of mine oh ! how sad !' ' and burst into tears. We were so moved at his distress that we did not think to call him back and endeavor to comfort him until he was gone and it was too late. The paper had already gone to press, but knowing that our friend would consider the publication MR. SKAE'S ITEM. Ill of tliis item important, and cherishing the hope that to print it would afford a melancholy satis- faction to his sorrowing heart, we stopped the press at once and inserted it in our columns : DISTRESSING ACCIDENT. Last evening about 6 o'clock, as Mr. William Schuyler, an old and respectable citizen of South Park, was leaving Ms residence to go down town, as has been his usual custom for many years, with the exception only of a short interval in the spring of 1850, during which he was con- fined to his bed by injuries received in attempting to stop a run- away horse by thoughtlessly placing himself directly in its wake and throwing up his hands and shouting, which, if he had done so even a single moment sooner, must inevitably have frightened the animal still more instead of checking its speed, although disastrous enough to himself as it was, and rendered more mel- ancholy and distressing by reason of the presence of his wife's mother, who was there and saw the sad occurrence, notwith- standing it is at least likely, though not necessarily so, that she should be reconnoitering in another direction when incidents occur, not being vivacious and on the lookout, as a general thing, but even the reverse, as her own mother is said to have stated, who is no more, but died in the full hope of a glorious resurrection, upwards of three years ago, aged 86, being a Christian woman and without guile, as it were, or property, in consequence of the fire of 1849, which destroyed every blasted thing she had in the world. But such is life. Let us all take warning by this solemn occurrence, and let us endeavor so to con- duct ourselves that when we come to die we can do it. Let us place our hands upon our hearts, and say with earnestness and sincerity that from this day forth we will beware of the intox- icating bowl. First Edition of the Californian. The "boss-editor has Ibeen in here raising the very mischief, and tearing his hair and kicking 112 MR. SKAE'S ITEM. the furniture about, and abusing me like a pickpocket. He says that every time he leaves me in charge of the paper for half an hour, I get imposed upon Tby the first infant or the first idiot that comes along. And he says that dis- tressing item of Johnny Skae's is nothing but a lot of distressing bosh, and has got no point to it and no sense in it and no information in it, and that there was no earthly necessity for stop- ping the press to publish it. He says every man he meets has insinuated that somebody about THE CALIFORNIA^ office has gone crazy. Now all this comes of being good-hearted. If I had been as unaccommodating and unsympa- thetic as some people, I would have told Johnny Skae that I wouldn't receive his communica- tion at such a late hour, and to go to blazes with it ; but no, his snuffling distress touched my heart, and I jumped at the chance of doing something to modify his misery. I never read his item to see whether there was any thing wrong about it, but hastily wrote the few lines which preceded it, and sent it to the printers. And what has my kindness done for me ? It has done nothing but bring down upon me a storm of abuse and ornamental blasphemy. MR. SKAE'S ITEM. 118 Now, I will just read that item myself, and see if there is any foundation for all this fuss. And if there is, the author of it shall hear from me. I have read it, and I am "bound to admit that it seems a little mixed at a first glance. How- ever, I will peruse it once more. I have read it again, and it does really seem a good deal more mixed than ever. I have read it over five times, Ibut if I can get at the meaning of it, I wish I may get my just deserts. It won't bear analysis. There are things about it which I cannot understand at all. It don't say whatever became of William Schuy- ler. It just says enough about him to get one interested in his career, and then drops him. Who is William Schuyler, any how, and what part of South Park did he live in, and if he started down-town at six o'clock, did he ever get there, and if he did, did any thing happen to him ? Is Tie the individual that met with the 114: MR. SKAE'S ITEM. " distressing accident"? Considering the ela- borate circumstantiality of detail observable in the item, it seems to me that it ought to contain more information than it does. On the con- trary, it is obscure and not only obscure, but utterly incomprehensible. Was the breaking of Mr. Schuyler's leg, fifteen years ago, the " distressing accident" that plunged Mr. Skae into unspeakable grief, and caused him to come up here at dead of night and stop our press to acquaint the world with the unfortunate cir- cumstance ? Or did the " distressing accident" consist in the destruction of Schuyler's mother- in-law's property in early times ? Or did it con- sist in the death of that person herself three years ago ? (albeit it does not appear that she died by accident.) In a word, what did that " distressing accident" consist in? What did that driveling ass of a Schuyler stand in tJie wake of a runaway horse for, with his shouting and gesticulating, if he wanted to stop him ? And how the mischief could he get run over by a horse that had already passed beyond him ? And what are we to "take warning" by? and how is this extraordinary chapter of incompre- hensibilities going to be a " lesson" to us ? And MR. SKAE'8 ITEM. 115 above all, what lias the " intoxicating "bowl" got to do with it, any how ? It is not stated that Schuyler drank, or that his wife drank, or that his mother-in-law drank, or that the horse drank wherefore, then, the reference to the intoxicating Tbowl ? It does seem to me that, if Mr. Skae had let the intoxicating Ibowl alone himself, he never would have got into so much trouble about this infernal imaginary distress- ing accident. I have read his absurd item over and over again, with all its insinuating plausi- bility, until my head swims ; but I can make neither head nor tail of it. There certainly seems to have been an accident of some kind or other, but it is impossible to determine what the nature of it was, or who was the sufferer by it. I do not like to do it, but I feel compelled to request that the next time any thing happens to one of Mr. Skae's friends, he will append such explanatory notes to his account of it as will enable me to find out what sort of an acci- dent it was and whom it happened to. I had rather all his friends should die than that I should be driven to the verge of lunacy again in trying to cipher out the meaning of another such production as the above. AMONG THE SPIRITS. THEEE was a seance in town a few nights since. As I was making for it, in company with, the reporter of an evening paper, he said he had seen a gambler named Gus Graham shot down in a town in Illinois years ago Tby a mob, and as he was probably the only person in San Francisco who knew of the circumstance, he thought he would "give the spirits Graham to chaw on awhile.'' pST. B. This young crea- ture is a Democrat, and speaks with the native strength and inelegance of his tribe.] In the course of the show he wrote his old pal's name on a slip of paper, and folded it up tightly and put it in a hat which was passed around, and which already had about five hundred similar documents in it. The pile was dumped on the table, and the medium began to take them up one by one and lay them aside, asking, "Is AMONG THE SPIRITS. 117 this spirit present? or this ? or this?" About one in fifty would rap, and tlie person who sent up the name would rise in his place and ques- tion the defunct. At last a spirit seized the medium's hand and wrote " Gus Graham " backward. Then the medium went skirmish- ing through, the papers for the corresponding name. And that old sport knew his card Iby the back ! When the medium came to it, after picking up fifty others, he rapped ! A commit- teeman unfolded the paper, and it was the right one. I sent for it and got it. It was all right. However, I suppose all Democrats are on so- ciable terms witli the devil. The young man got up and asked : " Did you die in '51 ? '52 ? '53 ? '54 ? " GTiost "Rap, rap, rap." " Did you die of cholera ? diarrhea ? dysen- tery ? dog-bite ? small-pox ? violent death ? " "Rap, rap, rap." "Were you hanged? drowned? stabbed? shot? -" "Rap, rap, rap." "Did you die in Mississippi? Kentucky? New- York? Sandwich Islands? Texas? Illi- nois 1 118 AMONG THE SPIRITS. "Rap, rap, rap." " In Adams county ? Madison ? Ran dolph? " "Rap, rap, rap." It was no use trying to catch, the departed gambler. He knew his hand, and played it like a major. About this time a couple of Germans stepped forward, an elderly man and a spry young fel- low, cocked and primed for a sensation. They wrote some names. Then young Ollendorff said something which sounded like " 1st ein geist hieraus ?" [Bursts of laughter from the audience.] Three raps signifying that there was a geist hieraus. " Vollen sie schriehen ?" [More laughter.] Three raps. "Finzig stollen, linsowfterowlickterhairowf- terfrowleineruhackfolderol ?" Incredible as it may seem, the spirit cheer- fully answered Yes to that astonishing propo- sition. The audience grew more and more boister- ously mirthful with every fresh question, and they were informed that the performance could AMONG THE SPIRITS. 119 not go on in the midst of so much, levity. They became quiet. The German ghost didn't appear to know anything at all couldn't answer the simplest questions. Young Ollendorff finally stated some numbers, and tried to get at the time of the spirit's death ; it appeared to be con- siderably mixed as to whether it died in 1811 or 1812, which was reasonable enough, as it had been so long ago. At last it wrote "12." Tableau ! Young Ollendorff sprang to his feet in a state of consuming excitement. He exclaimed : "Laties und shentlemen ! I write de name fon a man vot lifs ! Speerit-rabbing dells me he ties in yahr eighteen hoondred und dwelf, but he yoos as live und helty as " The Medium " Sit down, sir !" Ollendorff "But I vant to " Medium "You are not here to make speeches, sir sit down !" [Mr. O. had squared himself for an oration.] Mr. O. "But de speerit cheat! dere is no such speerit [All this time applause and laughter by turns from the audience.] 120 AMONG THE SPIRITS. Medium "Take your seat, sir, and I will explain this matter." And' she explained. And in that explana- tion she let off a blast which was so terrific that I half expected to see young Ollendorff shot up through the roof. She said he had come up there with fraud and deceit and cheating in his heart, and a kindred spirit had come from the land of shadows to commune with him ! She was terribly "bitter. She said in substance, though not in words, that perdition was full of just such fellows as Ollendorff, and they were ready on the slightest pretext to rush in and assume any body's name, and rap and write and lie and swindle with a perfect looseness whenever they could rope in a living affinity like poor Ollendorff to communicate with ! [Great applause and laughter.] Ollendorff stood his ground with good pluck, and was going to open his batteries again, when a storm of cries arose all over the house, "Get down ! Go on ! Clear out ! Speak on we'll hear you ! Climb down from that platform ! Stay where you are ! Vamose ! Stick to your post say your say t" The medium rose up and said if Ollendorff AMONG THE SPIRITS. 121 remained, site would not. She recognized no one's right to come there and insult her by practicing a deception upon her, and attempting to bring ridicule upon so solemn a thing as her religious "belief. The audience then became quiet, and the subjugated Ollendorff retired from the platform. The other German raised a spirit, questioned it at some length in his own language, and said the answers were correct. The medium claimed to be entirely unacquainted with the German language. Just then a gentleman called me to the edge of the platform and asked me if I were a Spiritualist. I said I was not. He asked me if I were prejudiced. I said not more than any other unbeliever ; but I could not believe in a thing which I could not understand, and I had not seen any thing yet that I could by any pos- sibility cipher out. He said, then, that he didn't think I was the cause of the diffidence shown by the spirits, but he knew there was an an- tagonistic influence around that table some- where ; he had noticed it from the first ; there was a painful negative current passing to his sensitive organization from that direction 122 AMONG THE SPIRITS. stantly. I told Mm I guessed it was that other fellow ; and I said. Blame a man who was all the time shedding these infernal negative cur- rents ! This appeared to satisfy the mind of the inquiring fanatic, and he sat down. I had a very dear friend, who, I had heard, had gone to the spirit- land, or perdition, or some of those places, and I desired to know some- thing concerning him. There was something so awful, though, albout talking with living, sinful lips to the ghostly dead, that I could hardly bring myself to rise and speak. But at last I got tremblingly up and said with a low and trembling voice : " Is the spirit of John Smith present ?" (You never can depend on these Smiths ; you call for one, and the whole tribe will come clat- tering out of hell to answer you.) " Whack! whack! whack! whack!" Bless me ! I believe all the dead and damned John Smiths between San Francisco and perdi- tion boarded that poor little table at once ! I was considerably set back stunned, I may say. The audience urged me to go on, how- ever, and I said : " What did you die of?" AMONG THE SPIRITS. 123 The Smiths answered to every disease and casualty that men can die of. " "Where did you die V 9 They answered Yes to every locality I could name while my geography held out. " Are you happy where you are ?" There was a vigorous and unanimous "N"o 1" from the late Smiths. " Is it warm there ?" An educated Smith seized the medium's hand and wrote : "It's no name for it." "Did you leave any Smiths in that place when you came away !" "Dead loads of them!" I fancied I heard the shadowy Smiths chuckle at this feeble joke the rare joke that there could "be live loads of Smiths where all are dead. "How many Smiths are present ?" "Eighteen millions the procession now reaches from here to the other side of China." "Then there are many Smiths in the king- dom of the lost ?" "The Prince Apollyon calls all new comers Smith on general principles ; and continues to 124: AMONG THE SPIRUS. do so until lie is corrected, if he chances to "be mistaken." "What do lost spirits call their dread abode?" " They call it the Smithsonian Institute." I got hold of the right Smith at last the par- ticular Smith I was after my dear, lost, la- mented friend and learned that he died a vio- lent death. I feared as much. He said his wife talked him to death. Poor wretch ! By and Tby up started another Smith. A gen- tleman in the audience said that this was his Smith. So he questioned him, and this Smith said he too died Tby violence. He had "been a good deal tangled in his religious belief, and was a sort of a cross between a Universalist and a Unitarian ; has got straightened out and changed his opinions since he left here ; said he was perfectly happy. We proceeded to question this talkative and frolicsome old par- son. Among spirits I judge he is the gayest of the gay. He said he had no tangible body ; a bullet could pass through him and never make a hole ; rain could pass through him as through vapor, and not discommode him in the least, (so I suppose he don't know enough to come AMONG THE SPIRITS. 125 in when it rains or don't care enough ;) says heaven and hell are simply mental conditions ; spirits in the former have happy and contented minds, and those in the latter are torn Tby re- morse of conscience ; says as far as he is con- cerned, he is all right he is happy ; would not say whether he was a very good or a very "bad man on earth, (the shrewd old water-proof non- entity ! I asked the question so that I might average my own chances for his luck in the other world, but he saw my drift ;) says he has an occupation there puts in his time teaching and being taught ; says there are spheres - grades of perfection he is making very good progress has been promoted a sphere or so since his matriculation ; (I said mentally, "Go slow, old man, go slow, you have got all eter- nity before you," and he replied not ;) he don't know how many spheres there are, (but I sup- pose there must be millions, because if a man goes galloping through them at the rate this old Universalist is doing, he will get through an infinitude of them by the time he has been there as long as old Sesostris and those ancient mummies ; and there is no estimating how high he will get in even the infancy of eternity I 126 AMONG THE SPIRITS. am afraid the old man is scouring along rather too fast for the style of his surroundings, and the length of time he has got on his hands ;) says spirits can not feel heat or cold, (which militates somewhat against all my notions of orthodox damnation fire and Ibrimstone ;) says spirits commune with each other Iby thought they have no language; says the distinctions of sex are preserved there and so forth and so on. The old parson wrote and talked for an hour, and showed "by his quick, shrewd, intelligent replies, that he had not been sitting up nights in the other world for nothing; he had "been prying into every thing worth knowing, and finding out every thing he possibly could as he said himself when he did not understand a thing he hunted up a spirit who could explain it, consequently he is pretty thoroughly posted. And for his accommodating conduct and his uniform courtesy to me, I sincerely hope he will continue to progress at his present velocity until he lands on the very roof of the highest sphere of all, and thus achieves perfection. BRIEF BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF GEORGE WASHINGTON, | HIS day, many years ago precisely, George Washington was born. How full of significance the thought ! Es- pecially to those among us who have had a similar experience, though subsequently ; and still more especially to the young, who should take him for a model, and faithfully try to be like him, undeterred by the frequency with which the same thing has been attempted by American youths before them and not satis- factorily accomplished. George Washington was the youngest of nine children, eight of whom were the offspring of his uncle and his aunt. As a boy, he gave no promise of the greatness he was one day to achieve. He was ignorant of the commonest accomplish- ments of youth. He could not even lie. But then he never had any of those precious advan- 128 SKETCH OF GEORGE WASHINGTON. tages which are within the reach of the hum- blest of the boys of the present day. Any boy can lie now. I conld lie before I could stand yet this sort of sprightliness was so common in our family that little notice was taken of it. Young George appears to have had no sagacity whatever. It is related of him that he once chopped down his father's favorite cherry-tree, and then didn't know enough to keep dark about it. He came near going to sea once, as a midshipman ; but when his mother represented to him that he must necessarily be absent when lie was away from home, and that this must continue to be the case until he got back, the sad truth struck him so forcibly that he or- dered his trunk ashore, and quietly but firmly refused to serve in the navy and fight the bat- tles of his king so long as the effect of it would be to discommode his mother. The great rule of his life was, that procrastination was the thief of time, and that we should always do unto others somehow. This is the golden rule. Therefore, he would never discommode his mother. Young George Washington was actuated in all things by the highest and purest principles SKETCH OF GEORGE WASHINGTON. 129 of morality, justice, and right. He was a model in every way worthy of the emulation of yonth. Young George was always prompt and faithful in the discharge of every duty. It has Ibeen said of him, Iby the historian, that he was always on hand, like a thousand of brick. And well deserved was this compliment. The aggregate of the building material specified might have "been largely increased might have been doubled, even without doing full justice to these high qualities in the subject of this sketch. Indeed, it would hardly be possible to express in bricks the exceeding promptness and fidelity of young George Washington. His was a soul whose manifold excellencies were beyond the ken and computation of mathe- matics, and bricks are, at the least, but an in- adequate vehicle for the conveyance of a com- prehension of the moral sublimity of a nature so pure as his. Young George W. was a surveyor in early life a surveyor of an inland port a sort of county surveyor ; and under a commission from Governor Dinwiddie, he set out to survey his way four hundred miles through trackless for- ests, infested with Indians, to procure the liber* 130 SKETCH OF GEORGE WASHINGTON. ation of some English, prisoners. The historian says the Indians were the most depraved of their species, and did nothing Ibut lay for white men, whom they killed for the sake of robbing them. Considering that white men only trav- eled through, the country at the rate of one a year, they were probably unable to do what might be termed a land-office business in their line. They did not rob young G. W. ; one savage made the attempt, but failed ; he fired at the subject of this sketch, from behind a tree, but the subject of this sketch, immediately snaked him out from behind the tree and took him prisoner. The long journey failed of success ; the French would not give up the prisoners, and Wash went sadly back home again. A regi- ment was raised to go and make a rescue, and he took command of it. He caught the French out in the rain and tackled them with great in- trepidity. He defeated them in ten minutes, and their commander handed in his checks. This was the battle of Great Meadows. After this, a good while, George Washington became Commander-in-Chief of the American armies, and had an exceedingly dusty time of SKETCH OF GEORGE WASHINGTON. 131 it all through the Revolution. But every now and then he turned a Jack from the bottom and surprised the enemy. He kept up his lick for seven long years, and hazed the British from Harrislburg to Halifax and America was free ! He served two terms as President, and would have been President yet if he had lived even so did the people honor the Father of his Country. Let the youth of America take his incomparable character for a model, and try it one jolt, any how. Success is possible let them remember that success is possible, though there are chances against it. I could continue this biography with profit to the rising generation, but I shall have to drop the subject at present, because of other matters which must be attended to. A TOUCHING STORY OF GEORGE WASHINGTON'S BOYHOOD. j|F it please your neighbor to break the sacred calm of night with the snort- ing of an unholy trombone, it is your duty to put up with his wretched music and your privilege to pity him for the unhappy instinct that moves him to delight in such dis- cordant sounds. I did not always think thus : this consideration for musical amateurs was born of certain disagreeable personal exper- iences that once followed the development of a like instinct in myself. Now this infidel over the way, who is learning to play on the trom- bone, and the slowness of whose progress is al- most miraculous, goes on with his harrowing work every night, unerased by me, but ten- derly pitied. Ten years ago, for the same offense, I would have set fire to his house. At that time I was a prey to an amateur violinist GEORGE WASHINGTON'S BOYHOOD. 133 for two or three weeks, and tlie sufferings I en- dured at his hands are inconceivable. He played "Old Dan Tucker," and he never played any thing else ; "but he performed that so badly that he could throw me into fits with it if I were awake, or into a nightmare if I were asleep. As long as he confined himself to "Dan Tucker," though, I Tbore with him and abstained from violence ; but when he pro- jected a fresh outrage, and tried to do " Sweet Home," I went over and burnt him out. My next assailant was a wretch who felt a call to play the clarionet. He only played the scale, however, with his distressing instrument, and I let him run the length of his tether, also ; but finally, when he branched out into a ghast- ly tune, I felt my reason deserting me under the exquisite torture, and I sallied forth and burnt him out likewise. During the next two years I burned out an amateur cornet player, a bugler, a bassoon-sophomore, and a barbarian whose talents ran in the base-drum line. I would certainly have scorched this trom- bone man if he had moved into my neighbor- hood in those days. But as I said before, I leave him to his own destruction now, because 134 GEORGE WASHINGTON'S BOYHOOD. I have liad experience as an amateur myself, and I feel nothing but compassion for that kind of people. Besides, I have learned that there lies dormant in the souls of all men a penchant for some particular musical instrument, and an unsuspected yearning to learn to play on it, that are "bound to wake up and demand atten- tion some day. Therefore, you who rail at such as disturb your slumbers with unsuccess- ful and demoralizing attempt^ to subjugate a fiddle, beware ! for sooner or later your own time will come. It is customary and popular to curse these amateurs when they wrench you out of a pleasant dream at night with a pe- culiarly diabolical note ; but seeing that we are all made alike, and must all develop a distort- ed talent for music in the fullness of time, it is not right. I am charitable to my trombone maniac ; in a moment of inspiration he fetches a snort, sometimes, that brings me to a sitting posture in bed, broad awake and weltering in a cold perspiration. Perhaps my first thought is, that there has been an earthquake ; perhaps I hear the trombone, and my next thought is, that suicide and the silence of the grave would be a happy release from this nightly agony; perhaps the old instinct comes strong upon me GEORGE WASHINGTON'S BOYHOOD. 135 to go after my matches ; "but my first cool, col- lected thought is, that the trombone man's des- tiny is upon him, and he is working it out in suffering and tribulation ; and I banish from me the unworthy instinct that would prompt me to burn him out. After a long immunity from the dreadful in- sanity that moves a man to become a musician in defiance of the will of God that he should confine himself to sawing wood, I finally fell a victim to the instrument they call the accordeon. At this day I hate that contrivance as fervently as any man can, but at the time I speak of I suddenly acquired a disgusting and idolatrous affection for it. I got one of powerful capacity, and learned to play " Auld Lang Syne " on it. It seems to me, now, that I must have been gifted with a sort of inspiration to be enabled, in the state of ignorance in which I then was, to select out of the whole range of musical composition the one solitary tune that sounds vilest and most distressing on the accordeon. I do not suppose there is another tune in the world with which I could have inflicted so much anguish upon my race as I did with that one during my short musical career. After I had been playing " Lang Syne" 136 GEORGE WASHINGTON'S BOYHOOD. albout a week, I had the vanity to think I could improve the original melody, and I set albout adding some little flourishes and varia- tions to it, "but with rather indifferent success, I suppose, as it "brought my landlady into my presence with an expression albout her of "being opposed to such desperate enterprises. Said she, "Do you know any other tune "but that, Mr. Twain?" I told her, meekly, that I did not. "Well, then," said she, "stick to it just as it is ; don't put any variations to it, because it's rough enough on the "boarders the way it is now." The fact is, it was something more than sim- ply "rough enough" on them; it was alto- gether too rough ; half of them left, and the other half would have followed, but Mrs. Jones saved them "by discharging me from the prem- ises. I only staid one night at my next lodging- house. Mrs. Smith was after me early in the morning. She said, "You can go, sir ; I don't want you here ; I have had one of your kind "before a poor lunatic, that played the Tbanjo and danced breakdowns, and jarred the glass all out of the windows. You kept me awake all GEORGE WASHINGTON'S BOYHOOD. 137 night, and if you was to do it again, I'd take and mash that thing over your head !" I could see that this woman took no delight in music, and I moved to Mrs. Brown's. For three nights in succession I gave my new neighbors "Auld Lang Syne," plain and un- adulterated, save "by a few discords that rather improved the general effect than otherwise. But the very first time I tried the variations the "boarders mutinied. I never did find any Tbody that would stand those variations. I was very well satisfied with my efforts in that house, however, and I left it without any regrets ; I drove one Iboarder as mad as a March hare, and another one tried to scalp his mother. I reflected, though, that if I could only have "been allowed to give this latter just one more touch of the variations, he would have finished the old woman. I went to Iboard at Mrs. Murphy's, an Italian lady of many excellent qualities. The very first time I struck up the variations, a haggard, care-worn, cadaverous old man walked into my room and stood beaming upon me a smile of ineffable happiness. Then he placed his hand upon my head, and looking devoutly aloft, he 138 GEOEGE WASHINGTON'S BOYHOOD. said with feeling unction, and in a voice trem- bling with, emotion, "God bless you, young man ! God "bless you ! for you have done that for me which is beyond all praise. For years I have suffered from an incurable disease, and knowing my doom was sealed and that I must die, I have striven with all my power to resign myself to my fate, but in vain the love of life was too strong within me. But Heaven bless you, my benefactor ! for since I heard you play that tune and those variations, I do not want to live any longer I am entirely resigned I am willing to die in fact, I am anxious to die." And then the old man fell upon my neck and wept a flood of happy tears. I was surprised at these things ; but I could not help feeling a little proud at what I had done, nor could I help giving the old gentleman a parting blast in the way of some peculiarly lacerating varia- tions as he went out at the door. They doubled him up like a jack-knife, and the next time he left his bed of pain and suffering he was all right, in a metallic coffin. My passion for the accordeon finally spent itself and died out, and I was glad when I found myself free from its unwholesome in- GEORGE WASHINGTON'S BOYHOOD. 139 fluence. While the fever was upon me, I was a living, breathing calamity wherever I went, and desolation and disaster followed in my wake. I bred discord in families, I crushed the spirits of the light-hearted, I drove the mel- ancholy to despair, I hurried invalids to prem- ature dissolution, and I fear me I disturbed the very dead in their graves. I did incalculable harm, and inflicted untold suffering upon my race with my execrable music ; and yet to atone for it all, I did but one single blessed act, in making that weary old man willing to go to his long home. Still, I derived some little benefit from that accordeon ; for while I continued to practice on it, I never had to pay any board landlords were always willing to compromise, on my leaving before the month was up. Now, I had two objects in view in writing the foregoing, one of which was to try and recon- cile people to those poor unfortunates who feel that they have a genius for music, and who drive their neighbors crazy every night in try- ing to develop and cultivate it ; and the other was to introduce an admirable story about Lit- tle George Washington, who could Not Lie, 140 GEORGE WASHINGTON'S BOYHOOD. and the Cherry-Tree or the Apple-Tree I have forgotten now which, although it was told me only yesterday. And writing such a long and elaborate introductory has caused me to forget the story itself ; Tbut it was very touching. A PAGE FROM A CALIFORNIA^ ALMANAC. j|T tlie instance of several friends who feel a Iboding anxiety to know "be- forehand what sort of phenomena we may expect the elements to exhibit during the next month or two, and who have lost all con- fidence in the various patent medicine alma- nacs, Tbecause of the unaccountable reticence of those works concerning the extraordinary event of the 8th inst., I have compiled the following almanac expressly for the latitude of San Fran- cisco : Oct. 17. Weather hazy ; atmosphere murky and dense. An expression of profound melan- choly will be observable upon most coun- tenances. Oct. 18. Slight earthquake. Countenances grow more melancholy. Oct. 19. Look out for rain. It would be ab- 142 ^ PAGE FROM A CALIFORNIAN ALMANAC. surd to look in for it. The general depression of spirits increased. Oct. 20. More weather. Oct. 21. Same. Oct. 22. Light winds, perhaps. If they blow, it will "be from the " east'ard, or the nor'ard, or the west'ard, or the suth'ard," or from some general direction approximating more or less to these points of the compass or otherwise. Winds are uncertain more especially when they "blow from whence they cometh and whither they listeth. N". B. Such is the nature of winds. Oct. 23. Mild, balmy earthquakes. Oct. 24. Shaky. Oct. 25. Occasional shakes, followed by light showers of bricks and plastering. N. B. Stand from under ! Oct. 26. Considerable phenomenal atmos- pheric foolishness. About this time expect more earthquakes ; but do not look for them, on account of the bricks. Oct. 27. Universal despondency, indicative of approaching disaster. Abstain from smil- ing, or indulgence in humorous conversation, or exasperating jokes. Oct. 28. Misery, dismal forebodings, and A PAGE FROM A CALIFORNIAN ALMANAC. 143 despair. Beware of all light discourse a joke uttered at this time would produce a popular outbreak. Oct. 29. Beware ! Oct. 30. Keep dark ! Oct. 31. Go slow ! Nov. 1. Terrific earthquake. This is the great earthquake month. More stars fall and more worlds are slathered around carelessly and destroyed in November than in any other month of the twelve. Nov. 2. Spasmodic but exhilarating earth- quakes, accompanied by occasional showers of rain and churches and things. Nov. 3. Make your will. Nov. 4. Sell out. Nov. 5. Select your "last words." Those of John Quincy Adams will do, with the addi- tion of a syllable, thus: "This is the last of earthquakes." Nov. 6. Prepare to shed this mortal coil. Nov. 7. Shed ! Nov. 8. The sun will rise as usual, perhaps ; but if he does, he will doubtless be staggered some to find nothing but a large round hole eight thousand miles in diameter in the place where he saw this world serenely spinning the day before. INFORMATION FOR THE MILLION. YOUNG man anxious for information writes to a friend residing in Virginia City, Nevada, as follows : " SPKINGFTELD, Mo., April 12. " DBAK SIR : My object in writing to you is to have you give me a full history of Nevada. What is the character of its cli- mate ? What are the productions of the earth ? Is it healthy ? What diseases do they die of mostly ? Do you think it would be advisable for a man who can make a living in Missouri to emigrate to that part of the country ? There are several of us who would emigrate there in the spring if we could ascertain to a certainty that it is a much better country than this. I suppose you know Joel H. Smith ? He used to live here ; he lives in Nevada now ; they say he owns considerable in a mine there. Hoping to hear from you soon, etc., I remain yours, truly, WILLIAM ." The letter was handed in to a newspaper office for reply. For the benefit of all who con- template moving to Nevada, it is perhaps best to publish the correspondence in its entirety : DEAKEST WILLIAM : Pardon my familiarity but that name touchingly reminds me of the INFORMATION FOR THE MILLION. 145 loved and lost, whose name was similar. I have taken the contract to answer your letter, and although we are now strangers, I feel we shall cease to be so if we ever become acquaint- ed with each other. The thought is worthy of attention, William. I will now respond to your several propositions in the order in which you have fulminated them. Your object in writing is to have me give you a full history of Nevada. The flattering con- fidence you repose in me, William, is only equaled by the modesty of your request. I could detail the history of Nevada in five hun- dred pages octavo ; but as you have never done me any harm, I will spare you, though it will be apparent to every body that I would be jus- tified in taking advantage of you if I were a mind to. However, I will condense. Nevada was discovered many years ago by the Mor- mons, and was called Carson county. It only became Nevada in 1861, by act of Congress. There is a popular tradition that the Almighty created it ; but when you come to see it, Wil- liam, you will think differently. Do not let that discourage you, though. The country looks something like a singed cat, owing to the 146 INFORMATION FOR THE MILLION. scarcity of shrubbery, and also resembles that animal in the respect that it has more merits than its personal appearance would seem to in- dicate. The Grosch brothers found the first silver lead here in 1857. They also founded Silver City, I "believe. Signify to your friends, however, that all the mines here do not pay dividends as yet ; you may make this state- ment with the utmost unyielding inflexibility it will not be contradicted from this quarter. The population of this Territory is about 35,000, one half of which number reside in the united cities of Virginia and Gold Hill. However, I will discontinue this history for the present, lest I get you too deeply interested in this distant land, and cause you to neglect your family or your religion. But I will address you again upon the subject next year. In the mean time, allow me to answer your inquiry as to the char- acter of our climate. It has no character to speak of, William, and alas ! in this respect it resembles many, ah ! too many chambermaids in this wretched, wretched world. Sometimes we have the sea- sons in their regular order, and then again we have winter all the summer, and summer all INFORMATION FOR THE MILLION. 147 winter. Consequently, we have never yet come across an almanac that would just exactly fit this latitude. It is mighty regular albout not raining, though, William. It will start in here in November and rain albout four, and some- times as much as seven days on a stretch; after that you may loan out your umbrella for twelve months, with the serene confidence which a Christian feels in four aces. Sometimes the winter "begins in November and winds up in June ; and sometimes there is a Tbare suspicion of winter in March and April, and summer all the "balance of the year. But as a general thing, William, the climate is good, what there is of it. What are the productions of the earth ? You mean in Nevada, of course. On our ranches here any thing can "be raised that can "be pro- duced on the fertile fields of Missouri. But ranches are very scattering as scattering, per- haps, as lawyers in heaven. Nevada, for the most part, is a "barren waste of sand, embel- lished with melancholy sage-brush, and fenced in with snow-clad mountains. But these ghast- ly features were the salvation of the land, Wil- liam ; for no rightly constituted American would 148 INFORMATION FOR THE MILLION. have ever come here if the place had Ibeen easy of access, and none of our pioneers would have staid after they got here, if they had not felt satisfied that they could not find a smaller chance for making a living anywhere else. Such is man, William, as he crops out in America. " Is it healthy 3" Yes, I think it is as healthy, here as it is in any part of the West. But never permit a question of that kind to vegetate in your "brain, William ; because as long as Prov- idence has an eye on you, you will not Ibe likely to die until your time comes. "What diseases do they die of mostly?" Well, they used to die of conical "balls and cold steel, mostly, "but here lately erysipelas and the intoxicating "bowl have got the "bulge on those things, as was very justly remarked Tby Mr. Rising last Sunday. I will observe, for your information, William, that Mr. Rising is our Episcopal minister, and has done as much as any man among us to redeem this community from its pristine state of semi-barbarism. We are afflicted with all the diseases incident to the same latitude in the States, I believe, with one or two added and half a dozen subtracted on INFORMATION FOR THE MILLION. 149 account of our superior altitude. However, the doctors are albout as successful here, both in killing and curing, as they are anywhere. Now, as to whether it would "be advisable for a man who can make a living in Missouri to emigrate to Nevada, I confess I am somewhat mixed. If you are not content in your present condition, it naturally follows that you would "be entirely satisfied if you could make either more or less than a living. You would exult in the cheerful exhilaration always produced by a change. Well, you can find your opportunity here, where, if you retain your health, and are sober and industrious, you will inevitably make more than a living, and if you don't, you won't. You can rely upon this statement, William. It contemplates any line of business except the selling of tracts. You can not sell tracts here, William ; the people take no interest in tracts ; the very best efforts in the tract line even with pictures on them have met with no encourage- ment. Besides, the newspapers have been in : terfering ; a man gets his regular text or so from the Scriptures in his paper, along with the stock sales and the war news, every day now. If you are in the tract business, William, take 150 INFORMATION FOR THE MILLION. no chances on Washoe ; but you can succeed at any thing else here. " I suppose you know Joel H. Smith ?" Well the fact is I "believe I don't. Now isn't that singular ? Isn't it very singular ? And he owns ' ' considerable " in a mine here too. Hap- py man ! Actually owns in a mine here in Ne- vada Territory, and I never even heard of him. Strange strange do you know, William, it is the strangest thing that ever happened to me ? And then he not only owns in a mine, Tbut owns " considerable ;" that is the strangest part about it how a man could own considerable in a mine in Washoe, and I not know any thing about it. He is a lucky dog, though. But I strongly suspect that you have made a mistake in the name ; I am confident you have ; you mean John Smith I know you do ; I know it from the fact that he owns considerable in a mine here, because I sold him the property at a ruinous sacrifice on the very day he arrived here from over the plains. That man will be rich one of these days. I am just as well satis- fied of it as I am of any precisely similar in- stance of the kind that has come under my no- tice. I said as much to him yesterday, and he INFORMATION FOR THE MILLION. 151 said lie was satisfied of it also. But lie did not say it with that air of triumphant exultation which a heart like mine so delights to Ibehold in one to whom I have endeavored to Ibe a ben- efactor in a small way. He looked pensive awhile, "but, finally, says he, "Do you know, I think I'd a "been a rich man long ago if they'd ever found the d d ledge?" That was my idea about it. I always thought, and I still think, that if they ever do find that ledge, his chances will be better than they are now. I guess Smith will be all right one of these cen- turies, if he keeps up his assessments he is a young man yet. Now, William, I have taken a liking to you, and I would like to sell you " considerable " in a mine in Washoe. Let me hear from you on the subject. Greenbacks at par is as good a thing as I want. But seri- ously, William, don't you ever invest in a mining stock which you don't know any thing about ; beware of John Smith' s experience ! You hope to hear from me soon? Very good. I shall also hope to hear from you soon, about that little matter above referred to. Now, Wil- liam, ponder this epistle well ; never mind the sarcasm here and there, and the nonsense, but 152 INFORMATION FOR THE MILLION. reflect upon the plain facts set forth, because they are facts, and are meant to "be so under- stood and believed. Remember me affectionately to your friends and relations, and especially to your venerable grandmother, with whom I have not the pleas- ure to be acquainted but that is of no conse- quence, you know. I have been in your town many a time, and all the towns of the neigh- boring counties the hotel-keepers will recol- lect me vividly. Remember me to them I bear them no animosity. Yours affectionately. THE LAUNCH OF THE STEAMER CAPITAL I GET ME. MUFF NICKEESOK TO GO WITH ME AND ASSIST IN EEPOETING THE GEEAT STEAM- BOAT LAUNCH. HE EELATES THE INTEEEST- ESTG HISTOEY OF THE TEAYELI1STG PA1STOEA- MIST. WAS just starting off to see tlie launch of the great steamboat Cap- ital, on Saturday week, when I came across Mulph, Mulff, Muff, Mumph, Murph, Mumf, Murf, Mumford, Mulford, Murphy Nickerson (he is well known to the pulblic Iby all these names, and I can not say which is the right one) Tbound on the same errand. This was the man I wanted. We set out in a steamer whose decks were crowded with persons of all ages, . who were happy in their nervous anxiety to behold the novelty of a steamboat launch. 154: LAUNCH OF THE STEAMER CAPITAL. As we approached the spot where the launch was to take place, a gentleman from Reese River, Tby the name of Thompson, came up, with several friends, and said he had "been pros- pecting on the main deck, and had fonnd an object of interest a "bar. This was all very well, and showed him to "be a man of parts ; Ibut like many another man who produces a favorable impression "by an introductory re- mark replete with wisdom, he followed it up with a vain and unnecessary question Would we take a drink ? This to me ! This to M. M. M., etc., Nickerson ! We proceeded, two Tby two, arm-in-arm, down to the bar in the nether regions, chatting pleasantly and elbowing the restless, multitude. We took pure, cold, health-giving water, with some other things in it, and clinked our glasses together, and were about to drink, when Smith, of Excelsior, drew forth his handkerchief and wiped away a tear ; and then, noticing that the action had excited some attention, he explained it by recounting a most affecting incident in the history of a venerated aunt of his now de- ceased and said that, although long years had passed since the touching event he had nar- LAUNCH OF THE STEAMER CAPITAL. 155 rated, he could never take a drink without thinking of the kind-hearted old lady. Mr. Nickerson Tblew his nose, and said with deep emotion that it gave him a Tbetter opinion of human nature to see a man who had had a good aunt, eternally and forever thinking about her. This episode reminded Jones, of Mud Springs, of a circumstance which happened many years ago in the home of his childhood, and we held our glasses untouched and rested our elbows on the counter, while we listened with rapt attention to his story. There was something in it about a good-na- tured, stupid man, and this reminded Thomp- son, of Keese River, of a person of the same kind whom he had once fallen in with while traveling through the back settlements of one of the Atlantic States, and we postponed drink- ing until he should give us the facts in the case. The hero of the tale had unintentionally creat- ed some consternation at a camp-meeting by one of his innocent asinine freaks; and this reminded Mr. M. Nickerson of a reminiscence of his temporary sojourn in the interior of Con- necticut some months ago ; and again our up- 156 LAUNCH OF THE STEAMER CAPITAL. lifted glasses were staid on their way to our lips, and we listened attentively to THE ENTERTAINING HISTOEY OF THE SCEIP- TUEAL PANOEAMIST. [I give the history in Mr. Nickerson s own language.] There was a fellow traveling around, in that country, (said Mr. Mckerson,) with a moral religious show a sort of a scriptural panora- ma and he hired a wooden-headed old slalb to play the piano for him. After the first night's performance, the showman says : "My friend, you seem to know pretty much all the tunes there are, and you worry along first-rate. But then didn't you notice that sometimes last night the piece you happened to "be playing was a little rough on the proprieties, so to speak didn't seem to jilbe with the gener- al gait of the picture that was passing at the time, as it were was a little foreign to the sub- ject, you know as if you didn't either trump or follow suit, you understand ?" "Well, no," the fellow said; he hadn't noticed, but it might "be ; he had played along just as it came handy. LAUNCH OF THE STEAMER CAPITAL. 157 So they put it up that the simple old dummy was to keep his eye on the panorama after that, and as soon as a stunning picture was reeled out, he was to fit it to a dot with a piece of mu- sic that would help the audience get the idea of the subject, and warm them up like a camp- meeting revival. That sort of thing would cor- ral their sympathies, the showman said. There was a "big audience that night mostly middle-aged and old people who Tbelonged to the church and took a strong interest in Bible matters, and the balance were pretty much young bucks and heifers tJiey always come out strong on panoramas, you know, because it gives them a chance to taste one another's mugs in the dark. Well, the showman began to swell himself up for his lecture, and the old mud-dobber tackled the piano and run his fingers up and down once or twice to see that she was all right, and the fellows behind the curtain commenced to grind out the panorama. The showman bal- anced his weight on his right foot, and propped his hands on his hips, and flung his eye over his shoulder at the scenery, and says : "Ladies and gentlemen, the painting now be- 158 LAUNCH OF THE STEAMER CAPITAL. fore you illustrates tlie "beautiful and touching parable of the Prodigal Son. Observe the happy expression just breaking over the fea- tures of the poor suffering youth so worn and weary with his long march ; note also the ec- stasy beaming from the uplifted countenance of the aged father, and the joy that sparkles in the eyes of the excited group of youths and maidens, and seems ready to burst in a welcoming chorus from their lips. THe lesson, my friends, is as solemn and instructive as the story is tender and beautiful." The mud-dobber was all ready, and the second the speech was finished he struck up : " Oh ! we'll all get blind drunk When Johnny comes marching home !" Some of the people giggled, and some groaned a little. The showman couldn't say a word. He looked at the piano-sharp ; but he was all lovely and serene lie didn't know there was any thing out of gear. The panorama moved on, and the showman drummed up his grit and started in fresh : " Ladies and gentlemen, the fine picture now LAUNCH OF THE STEAMER CAPITAL. 159 unfolding itself to your gaze exhibits one of the most notable events in Bible history onr Saviour and his disciples upon the Sea of Gali- lee. How grand, how awe-inspiring are the reflections which the subject invokes ! What sublimity of faith is revealed to us in this les- son from the sacred writings ! The Saviour rebukes the angry waves, and walks securely upon the bosom of the deep 1" All around the house they were whispering, "Oh! how lovely! how beautiful!" and the orchestra let himself out again : " Oh. ! a life on the ocean wave, And a home on the rolling deep !" There was a good deal of honest snickering turned on this time, and considerable groaning, and one or two old deacons got up and went out. The showman gritted his teeth and cursed the piano man to himself ; but the fellow sat there like a knot on a log, and seemed to think he was doing first-rate. After things got quiet, the showman thought he would make one more stagger at it, any how, though his confidence was beginning to get mighty shaky. The supes started the 160 LAUNCH OF THE STEAMER CAPITAL. panorama to grinding along again, and lie says : " Ladies and gentlemen, this exquisite paint- ing illustrates the raising of Lazarus from the dead "by our Saviour. The subject has been handled with rare ability by the artist, and such touching sweetness and tenderness of ex- pression has he thrown into it, that I have known peculiarly sensitive persons to be even aifected to tears by looking at it. Observe the half-confused, half-inquiring look, upon the countenance of the awakening Lazarus. Ob- serve, also, the attitude and expression of the Saviour, who takes him gently by the sleeve of his shroud with one hand, while he points with the other toward the distant city." Before any body could get oif an opinion in the case, the innocent old ass at the piano struck up : " Come, rise up, William Ki-i-ley And go along with me !" It was rough on the audience, you bet you. All the solemn old flats got up in a huff to go, and every body else laughed till the windows rattled. LAUNCH OF THE STEAMER CAPITAL. 161 The showman went down and grabbed the orchestra, and shook him up, and says : "That lets you out, you know, you chow- der-headed old clam ! Go to the doorkeeper and get your money, and cut your stick ! vamose the ranche ! Ladies and gentlemen, circumstances over which I have no control compel me prematurely to dismiss " "By George! it was splendid! Come! all hands ! let's take a drink !" It was Phelim O'Flannigan, of San Luis OTbispo, who interrupted. I had not seen him before. "What was splendid?" I inquired. "The launch!" Our party clinked glasses once more, and drank in respectful silence. P. S. You will excuse me from making a model report of the great launch. I was with Mulf Mckerson, who was going to "explain the whole thing to me as clear as glass ;" but, you see, they launched the boat with such in- decent haste, that we never got a chance to see it. It was a great pity, because Mulph Mcker- understands launches as well as any man. ORIGIN OF ILLUSTRIOUS MEN. ilOEDST SMITH was the son of Ms father. He formerly lived in New- York and other places, "but he has removed to San Francisco now. William Smith was the son of his mother. This party's grandmother is deceased. She was a brick. John Brown was the son of old Brown. The "body of the latter lies mouldering in the grave. Edward Brown was the son of old Brown "by a particular friend. Henry Jones was the son of a sea-cook. Ed Jones was a son of a gun. John Jones was a son of temperance. In early life Gabriel Jones was actually a shoemaker. He is a shoemaker yet. Previous to the age of eighty-five, Caleb ORIGIN OF ILLUSTRIOUS MEN. 163 Jones had never given evidence of extraordi- nary ability. He has never given any since. Patrick Murphy is said to have "been of Irish extraction. James Peterson was the son of a common weaver, who was so miraculously poor that his Mends were encouraged to believe that in case the Scriptures were carried out he would " in- herit the earth." He never got his property. John Davis' s father was the son of a soap- boiler, and not a very good soap-boiler at that. John never arrived at maturity died in child- birth he and his mother. John Johnson was a blacksmith. He died. It was published in the papers, with a head over it, " Deaths." It was, therefore, thought he died to gain notoriety. He has got an aunt living somewhere. Up to the age of thirty-four Hosea Wilker- son never had any home but Home Sweet Home, and even then he had it to sing himself. At one time it was believed that he would have been famous if he became celebrated. He died. He was greatly esteemed for his many virtues. There was not a dry eye in the crowd when they planted him. ADVICE FOR GOOD LITTLE GIRLS. ]OOD little girls ought not to make mouths at their teachers for every trifling offense. This kind of retal- iation should only Ibe resorted to under pe- culiarly aggravating circumstances. If you have nothing but a rag doll stuffed with saw-dust, while one of your more fortu- nate little playmates has a costly china one, you should treat her with a show of kindness, nevertheless. And you ought not to attempt to make a forcible swap with her unless your con- science would justify you in it, and you know you are able to do it. You ought never to take your little brother's " chawing-gum " away from him by main force ; it is better to rope him in with the pro- mise of the first two dollars and a half you find floating down the river on a grindstone. In the artless simplicity natural to his time ADVICE FOR GOOD LITTLE GIRLS. 165 of life, lie will regard it as a perfectly fair transaction. In all ages of tlie world this eminently plausible fiction has lured the ob- tuse infant to financial ruin and disaster. If at any time you find it necessary to correct your "brother, do not correct him with mud never on any account throw mud at him, "be- cause it will soil his clothes. It is better to scald him a little ; for then you attain two de- sirable results you secure his immediate at- tention to the lesson you are inculcating, and, at the same time, your hot water "will have a tendency to remove impurities from his per- son and possibly the skin also, in spots. If your mother tells you to do a thing, it is wrong to reply that you won't. It is better and more becoming to intimate that you will do as she bids you, and then afterward act quietly in the matter according to the dictates of your better judgment. You should ever bear in mind that it is to your kind parents that you are indebted for your food and your nice bed and your beau- tiful clothes, and for the privilege of staying home from school when you let on that you are sick. Therefore you ought to respect their 166 ADVICE FOR GOOD LITTLE GIRLS. little prejudices and humor their little whims and put up with, their little foibles, until they get to crowding you too much. Good little girls should always show marked deference for the aged. You ought never to "sass"- old people unless they "sass" you first. CONCERNING CHAMBERMAIDS. JGrAINST all chambermaids, of whatso- ever age or nationality, I launch the curse of Tbachelordom ! Because : They always put the pillows at the opposite end of the bed from the gas-burner, so that while you read and smoke "before sleeping, (as is the ancient and honored custom of bache- lors,) you have to hold your book aloft, in an uncomfortable position, to keep the light from dazzling your eyes. When they find the pillows removed to the other end of the bed in the morning, they re- ceive not the suggestion in a friendly spirit ; but, glorying in their absolute sovereignty, and un- pitying your helplessness, they make the bed just as it was originally, and gloat in secret over the pang their tyranny will cause you. Always after that, when they find you have transposed the pillows, they undo your work. 168 CONCERNING CHAMBERMAIDS. and thus defy and seek to embitter the life that God has given yon. If they can not get the light in an incon- venient position any other way, they move the bed. If you pull your trunk out six inches from the wall, so that the lid will stay up when you open it, they always shove that trunk back again. They do it on purpose. If you want the spittoon in a certain spot, where it will be handy, they don't, and so they move it. They always put your other boots into inac- cessible places. They chiefly enjoy depositing them as far under the bed as the wall will per- mit. It is because this compels you to get down in an undignified attitude and make wild sweeps for them in the dark with the boot-jack, and swear. They always put the match-box in some other place. They hunt up a new place for it every day, and put up a bottle, or other per- ishable glass thing, where the box stood before. This is to cause you to break that glass thing, groping in the dark, and get yourself into trouble. CONCERNING CHAMBERMAIDS. 169 They are forever and ever moving the furni- ture. When you come in, in the night, you can calculate on finding the "bureau where the ward- robe was in the morning. And when you go out in the morning, if you leave the slop- bucket by the door and rocking-chair by the window, when you come in at midnight, or thereabouts, you will fall over that rocking- chair, and you will proceed toward the window and sit down in that slop-tub. This will dis- gust you. They like that. No matter where you put any thing, they are not going to let ifc stay there. They will take it and move it the first chance they get. It is their nature. And, besides, it gives them pleasure to be mean and contrary this way. They would die if they couldn't be villains. They always save up all the old scraps of printed rubbish you throw on the floor, and stack them up carefully on the table, and start the fire with your valuable manuscripts. If there is any one particular old scrap that you are more down on than any other, and which you are gradually wearing your life out trying to get rid of, you may take all the pains you possibly can in that direction, but it won't be 170 CONCERNING CHAMBERMAIDS. of any use, because they will always fetch that old scrap "back and put it in the same old place again every time. It does them good. And they use up more hair-oil than any six men. If charged with purloining the same, they lie about it. What do they care about a hereafter ? Absolutely nothing. If you leave your key in the door for con- venience sake, they will carry it down to the office and give it to the clerk. They do this under the vile pretense of trying to protect your property from thieves ; but actually they do it because they want to make you tramp back down-stairs after it when you come home tired, or put you to the trouble of sending a waiter for it, which waiter will expect you to pay him something. In which case I suppose the degraded creatures divide. They keep always trying to make your bed before you get up, thus destroying your rest and inflicting agony upon you ; but after you get up, they don't come any more till next day. They do all the mean things they can think of, and they do them just out of pure cussed- ness, and nothing else. CONCERNING CHAMBERMAIDS. Chambermaids are dead to every human in- stinct. I have cursed them in Ibehalf of outraged Tbachelordom. They deserve it. If I can get a bill through the Legislature abolishing cham- bermaids, I mean to do it. REMARKABLE INSTANCES OF PRESENCE OF MIND. [HE steamer Ajax encountered a ter- rible storm on lier down trip from San Francisco to tlie Sandwich. Isl- ands. It tore her light spars and rigging all to shreds and splinters, upset all furniture that could Tbe upset, and spilled passengers around and knocked them hither and thither with a perfect looseness. For forty-eight hours no table could be set, and every body had to eat as best they might under the circumstances. Most of the party went hungry, though, and attended to their praying. But there was one set of "seven-up" players who nailed a card- table to the floor and stuck to their game through, thick and thin. Captain F , of a great banking-house in San Francisco, a man of great coolness and presence of mind, was of this party. One night the storm suddenly cul- INSTANCES OF PRESENCE OF MIND. 173 minated in a climax of unparalleled fury ; the vessel went down on her Tbeam ends, and every thing let go with a crash passengers, tables, cards, Ibottles everything came clattering to the floor in a chaos of disorder and confusion. In a moment fifty sore distressed and pleading voices ejaculated, "O Heaven! help us in our extremity!" and one voice rang out clear and sharp albove the plaintive chorus and said, "Kememlber, "boys, I played the tray for low !" It was one of the gentlemen I have mentioned who spoke. And the remark showed good presence of mind and an eye to business. Lewis L , of a great hotel in San Francis- co, was a passenger. There were some savage grizzly Tbears chained in cages on deck. One night, in the midst of a hurricane, which was accompanied "by rain and thunder and light- ning, Mr. L. came up, on his way to bed. Just as he stepped into the pitchy darkness of the deck and reeled to the still more pitchy mo- tion of the vessel, (bad,) the captain sang out hoarsely through his speaking-trumpet, " Bear a hand aft, there 1" The words were sadly marred and jumbled by the roaring wind. Mr. L thought the captain said, " The bears are 174 INSTANCES OF PRESENCE OF MIND. after you there!" and lie "let go all holts" and went down into his Tboots. He murmured, " I knew how it was going to "be I just knew it from the start I said all along that those "bears would get loose some time ; and now I'll "be the first man that they'll snatch. Captain ! captain ! can't hear me storm roars so ! O God ! what a fate ! I have avoided wild beasts all my life, and now to "be eaten "by a grizzly "bear in the middle of the ocean, a thousand miles from land ! Captain ! O captain ! "bless my soul, there's one of them I've got to cut and run I" And he did cut and run, and smashed through the door of the first state- room he came to. A gentleman and his wife were in it. The gentleman exclaimed, " Who's that ?" The refugee gasped out, " O great Scot- land! those bears are loose, and just raising merry hell all over the ship!" and then sank down exhausted. The gentleman sprang out of "bed and locked the door, and prepared for a siege. After a while, no assault "being made, a reconnoissance was made from the window, and a vivid flash of lightning revealed a clear deck. Mr. L then made a dart for his own state- room, gained it, locked himself in, and felt that INSTANCES OF PRESENCE OF MIND. 175 his body's salvation was accomplished, and "by little less than a miracle. The next day the sub- ject of this memoir, though still very feeble and nervous, had the hardihood to make a joke upon his adventure. He said that when he found himself in so tight a place (as he thought) he didn't bear it with much fortitude, and when he found himself safe at last in his state-room, he regarded it as the bearest escape he had ever had in his life. He then went to bed, and did not get up again for nine days. This un- questionably bad joke cast a gloom over the whole ship's company, and no effort was suf- ficient to restore their wonted cheerfulness until the vessel reached her port, and other scenes erased it from their memories. HONORED AS A CURIOSITY IN HONOLULU. IF you get into conversation with, a stranger in Honolulu, and experience that natural desire to know what sort of ground you are treading on Iby finding out what manner of man your stranger is, strike out "boldly and address him as " Captain." Watch him narrowly, and if you see Tby his countenance that you are on the wrong track, ask him where lie preaches. It is a safe "bet that he is either a missionary or captain of a whaler. I "became personally acquainted with, seventy-two captains and ninety-six mission- aries. The captains and ministers form one half of the population ; the third fourth is com- posed of common Kanakas and mercantile for- eigners and their families ; and the final fourth is made up of high, officers of the Hawaiian government. And there are just albout cats enough for three apiece all around. HONORED AS A CURIOSITY IN HONOLULU. 177 A solemn stranger met me in the suburbs one day, and said : "Good morning, your reverence. Preach, in the stone church yonder, no doubt?" " No, I don't. I'm not a preacher." " Really, I Tbeg your pardon, captain. I trust you had a good season. How much oH " "Oil! Why, what do you take me for ? I'm not a whaler." " Oh ! I Tbeg a thousand pardons, your Ex- cellency. Major-General in the household troops, no doubt? Minister of the Interior, likely ? Secretary of War ? First Gentleman of the Bed-chamber? Commissioner of the Koyal " " Stuff ! man. I'm no official. I'm not con- nected in any way with the government." " Bless my life ! Then who the mischief are you ? what the mischief are you ? and how the mischief did you get here ? and where in thun- der did you come from?" "I'm only a private personage an unas- suming stranger lately arrived from Amer- ica." "No! Not a missionary! not a whaler! 178 HONORED AS A CURIOSITY IN HONOLULU. not a memlber of his Majesty's government ! not even Secretary of the Navy ! Ah ! heaven ! it is too blissful to "be true ; alas ! I do but dream. And yet that nolble, honest counte- nance those oblique, ingenuous eyes that massive head, incapable of of any thing ; your hand ; give me your hand, bright waif. Excuse tKese tears. For sixteen weary years I have yearned for a moment like this, and " Here his feelings were too much for him, and he swooned away. I pitied this poor creature from the bottom of my heart. I was deeply moved. I shed a few tears on him, and kissed him for his mother. I then took what small change he had, and " shoved." THE STEED "OAHU." SHE landlord of the American hotel at Honolulu said the party had been gone nearly an hour, Tbut that he could give me my choice of several horses that could easily overtake them. I said, Never mind I preferred a safe horse to a fast one I would like to have an excessively gentle horse a horse with no spirit whatever a lame one, if he had such a thing. Inside of five minutes I was mounted, and perfectly satisfied with my outfit. I had no time to label him, " This is a horse," and so if the public took him for a sheep I can not help it. I was satisfied, and that was the main thing. I could see that he had as many fine points as any man's horse, and I just hung my hat on one of them, be- hind the saddle, and swabbed the perspiration from my face and started. I named Trim after this island, " Oahu," (pronounced 0-waw-hoo.) 180 THE STEED " OAHU." The first gate lie came to lie started in ; I had neither whip nor spur, and so I simply argued the case with him. He firmly resisted argu- ment, but ultimately yielded to insult and albuse. He "backed out of that gate and steered for another one on the other side of the street. I triumphed "by my former process. Within the next six hundred yards he crossed the street fourteen times, and attempted thir- teen gates, and in the mean time the tropical sun was beating down and threatening to cave the top of my head in, and I was literally drip- ping with perspiration and profanity. (I am only human, and I was sorely aggravated; I shall "behave "better next time.) He quit the gate "business after that, and went along peaceably enough, but absorbed in meditation. I noticed this latter circumstance, and it soon began to fill me with the gravest apprehension. I said to myself, This malignant brute is planning some new outrage some fresh deviltry or other ; no horse ever thought over a subject so pro- foundly as this one is doing just for nothing. The more this thing preyed upon my mind the more uneasy I became, until at last the sus- pense became unbearable, and I dismounted to THE STEED " OAKU." 181 see if there was any thing wild in his eye ; for I had heard that the eye of this noblest of our domestic animals is very expressive. I can not describe what a load of anxiety was lifted from my mind when I fotjiid that he was only asleep. I woke him up ana started him into a faster walk, and then the inborn villainy of his na- ture came out again. He tried to climb over a stone wall five or six feet high. I saw that I must apply force to this horse, and that I might as well begin first as last. I plucked a stout switch from a tamarind tree, and the mo- ment he saw it he gave in. He broke into a convulsive sort of a canter, which had three short steps in it and one long one, and remind- ed me alternately of the clattering shake of the great earthquake and the sweeping plunging of the Ajax in a storm. A STRANGE DREAM. DEEAMED AT THE VOLCANO HOUSE, CEATEE OF "KILATJEA," SANDWICH ISLANDS, APEIL 1, 1866. |[LL day long I have sat apart and pon- dered over tlie mysterious occur- rences of last night. . . There is no link lacking in the chain of incidents my memory presents each in its proper order with perfect distinctness, Tbut still However, never mind these reflections I will drop them and proceed to make a simple state- ment of the facts. Toward eleven o'clock, it was suggested that the character of the night was peculiarly suited to viewing the mightiest active volcano on the earth's surface in its most impressive sulblimity. There was no light of moon or star in the inky A STRANGE DREAM. 183 heavens to mar the effect of the crater's gor- geous pyrotechnics. r In due time I stood, with my companion, on the wall of the vast cauldron which the natives, ages ago> named Hale mau mau the abyss wherein they were wont to throw the remains of their chiefs, to the end that vulgar feet might never tread albove them. We stood there, at dead of night, a mile albove the level of the sea, and looked down a thousand feet upon a boil- ing, surging, roaring ocean of fire ! shaded our eyes from the "blinding glare, and gazed far away over the crimson waves with a vague no- tion that a supernatural fleet, manned "by de- mons and freighted with the damned, might presently sail up out of the remote distance ; started when tremendous thunder-bursts shook the earth, and followed with fascinated eyes the grand jets of molten lava that sprang high up toward the zenith and exploded in a world of fiery spray that lit up the sombre heavens with an infernal splendor. " What is your little bonfire of Vesuvius to this?" My ejaculation roused my companion from his reverie, and we fell into a conversation ap- 184 A STRANGE DEEAM. propriate to the occasion and the surroundings. We came at last to speak of the ancient custom of casting the bodies of dead chieftains into this fearful caldron ; and my comrade, who is of the Tblood royal, mentioned that the founder of his race, old King Kamehameha the First that invincible old pagan Alexander had found other sepulture than the burning depths of the Hale mau man. I grew interested at once ; I knew that the mystery of what became of the corpse of the warrior king had never been fath- omed; I was aware that there was a legend connected with this matter] and I felt as if there could be no more fitting time to listen to it than the present. The descendant of the Kameha- mehas said : "The dead king was brought in royal state down the long, winding road that descends from the rim of the crater to the scorched and chasm- riven plain that lies between the Hale mau mau and those beetling walls yonder in the distance. The guards were set and the troops of mourn- ers began the weird wail for the departed. In the middle of the night came a sound of innu- merable voices in the air, and the rush of invis- ible wings ; the funeral torches wavered, burned A STRANGE DREAM. 185 blue, and went out. The mourners and watch- ers fell to the ground paralyzed "by fright, and many minutes elapsed before any one dared to move or speak ; for they believed that the phan- tom messengers of the dread Goddess of Fire had been in their midst. When at last a torch was lighted, the bier was vacant the dead monarch had been spirited away ! Consterna- tion seized upon all, and they fled out of the crater. When day dawned, the multitude re- turned and began the search for the corpse. But not a footprint, not a sign was ever found. Day after day the search was continued, and every cave in the great walls, and every chasm in the plain, for miles around, was examined, but all to no purpose ; and ftorn that day to this the resting-place of the lion king's bones is an unsolved mystery. But years afterward, when the grim prophetess Wiahowakawak lay on her deathbed, the Goddess Pele appeared to her in a vision, and told her that eventually the secret would be revealed, and in a remarkable manner, but not until the great Kauhuhu, the Shark God, should desert the sacred cavern Aua PuM, in the Island of Molokai, and the waters of the sea should no more visit it, and 186 -4 STRANGE DREAM. its floors should become dry. Ever since that time the simple, confiding natives have watched for the sign. And now, after many and many a summer has come and gone, and they who were in the flower of youth then have waxed old and died, the day is at hand ! The great Shark God has deserted the Aua Puhi : a month ago, for the first time within the records of the ancient legends, the waters of the sea ceased to flow into the cavern, and its stony pavement is "become dry ! As you may easily believe, the news of this event spread like wild- fire through the islands, and now the natives are looking every hour for the miracle which is to unvail the mystery and reveal the secret grave of the dead hero." After I had gone to bed I got to thinking of the volcanic magnificence we had witnessed, and could not go to sleep. I hunted up a book and concluded to pass the time in reading. The first chapter I came upon related several instances of remarkable revelations, made to men through the agency of dreams of roads and houses, trees, fences, and all manner of landmarks, shown in visions and recognized A STRANGE DREAM. 187 afterward in waking hours, and which served to point the way to some dark mystery or other. At length I fell asleep, and dreamed that I was abroad in the great plain that skirts the Hale mau mau. I stood in a sort of twilight which softened the outlines of surrounding ob- jects, but still left them tolerably distinct. A gaunt, muffled figure stepped out from the shadow of a rude column of lava, and moved away with a slow and measured step, beckon- ing me to follow. I did so. I marched down, down, down, hundreds of feet, upon a narrow trail which wound its tortuous course through piles and pyramids of seamed and blackened lava, and under overhanging masses of sulphur formed by the artist hand of nature into an in- finitude of fanciful shapes. The thought crossed my mind that possibly my phantom guide might lead me down among the bowels of the crater, and then disappear and leave me to grope my way through its mazes, and work out my deliverance as best I might ; and so, with an eye to such a contingency, I picked up a stone, and " blazed" my course by breaking off a projecting corner, occasionally, from lava walls and festoons of sulphur. Finally we 188 A STRANGE DREAM. turned into a cleft in the crater's side, and par- sued our way through its intricate windings for many a fathom down toward the home of the subterranean fires, our course lighted all the while Tby a ruddy glow which filtered up through innumerable cracks and crevices, and which afforded me occasional gliuapses of the flood of molten fire boiling and hissing in the profound depths beneath us. The heat was in- tense, and the sulphurous atmosphere suffo- cating ; but I toiled on in the footsteps of my stately guide, and uttered no complaint. At last we came to a sort of rugged chamber whose sombre and blistered walls spake with mute eloquence of some fiery tempest that had spent its fury here in a bygone age. The spectre pointed to a great boulder at the farther ex- tremity stood and pointed, silent and motion- less, for a few fleeting moments, and then dis- appeared ! "The grave of the last Kameha- meha !" The words swept mournfully by, from unknown source, and died away in the distant corridors of my prison-house, and I was alone in the bowels of the earth, in the home of deso- lation, in the presence of death ! My first frightened impulse was to fly, but a A STRANGE DREAM. 189 stronger impulse arrested me and impelled me to approach, the massive "boulder the spectre had pointed at. With hesitating step I went forward and stood Ibeside it nothing there. I grew bolder, and walked around and albout it, peering shrewdly into the shadowy half-light that surrounded it still nothing. I paused to consider what to do next. While I stood irre- solute, I chanced to brush the ponderous stone with my elbow, and lo ! it vibrated to my touch ! I would as soon have thought of starting a kiln of bricks with my feeble hand. My curiosity was excited. I bore against the boulder, and it still yielded ; I gave a sudden push with my whole strength, and it toppled from its founda- tion with a crash that sent the echoes thunder- ing down the avenues and passages of the dis- mal cavern ! And there, in a shallow excava- tion over which it had rested, lay the crumbling skeleton of King Kamehameha the Great, thus sepulchred in long years, by supernatural hands 1 The bones could be none other ; for with them lay the rare and priceless crown of pulamalama coral, sacred to royalty, and tabib to all else beside. A hollow human groan is- sued out of the 190 -A STRANGE DREAM. I woke up. How glad I was to know it was all a dream ! " This comes of listening to the legend of the nolble lord of reading of those lying dream revelations of allowing myself to Tbe carried away by the wild beauty of old KileancL at midnight of gorging too much pork and Tbeans for supper 1" And so I turned over and fell asleep again. And dreamed the same dream precisely as "before ; followed the phantom " "blazed" my course arrived at the grim chamber heard the sad spirit voice overturned the massy stone beheld the regal crown and the decaying bones of the great king ! I woke up, and reflected long upon the curious and singularly vivid dream, and finally muttered to myself, "This this is becoming serious! 55 I fell asleep again, and again I dreamed the same dream, without a single variation! I slept no more, but tossed restlessly in bed and longed for daylight. And when it came, I wan- dered forth, and descended to the wide plain in the crater. I said to myself, " I am not super- stitious ; but if there is any thing in that dying woman 5 s prophecy, I am the instrument ap- A STRANGE DREAM. 191 pointed to uncurtain this ancient mystery." As I walked along, I even half expected to see my solemn guide step out from some nook in the lofty wall, and beckon me to come on. At last when I reached the place where I had first seen him in my dream, I recognized every surrounding object, and there, winding down among the blocks and fragments of lava, saw the very trail I had traversed in my vision ! I resolved to traverse it again, come what might. I wondered if, in my unreal journey, I had " blazed" my way, so that it would stand the test of stern reality ; and thus wondering, a chill went to my heart when I came to the first stony projection I had broken off in my dream, and saw the fresh new fracture, and the dismembered fragment lying on the ground ! My curiosity rose up and banished all fear, and I hurried along as fast as the rugged road would allow me. I looked for my other " blazes," and found them ; found the cleft in the wall ; recognized all its turnings ; walked in the light that ascended from the glowing fur- naces visible far below ; sweated in the close, hot atmosphere, and breathed the sulphurous smokp and at last I stood hundreds of feet 192 A STRANGE DREAM. beneath the peaks of Kileana in the ruined chamber, and in the presence of the mysterious "boulder ! " This is no dream," I said ; " this is a reve- lation from the realm of the supernatural ; and it becomes not me to longer reason, conjec- ture, suspect, Ibut blindly to obey the impulses given me by' the unseen power that guides me." I moved with a slow and reverent step toward the stone and bore against it. It yield- ed perceptibly to the pressure. I "brought my full weight and strength to Ibear, and surged against it. It yielded again ; "but I was so en- feebled by my toilsome journey that I could not overthrow it. I rested a little, and then raised an edge of the boulder by a strong, steady push, and placed a small stone under it, to keep it from sinking back to its place. I rested again, and then repeated the process. Before long, I had added a third prop, and had got the edge of the boulder considerably ele- vated. The labor and the close atmosphere together were so exhausting, however, that I was obliged to lie down then, and recuperate my strength by a longer season of rest. And A STRANGE DREAM. 193 so, hour after hour I labored, growing more and more weary, but still uplield by a fascina- tion which I felt was infused into me by the in- visible powers wliose will I was working. At last I concentrated my strength in a final effort, and the stone rolled from its position. I can never forget the overpowering sense of awe that sank down like a great darkness upon my spirit at that moment. After a solemn pause to prepare myself, with bowed form and uncovered head, I slowly turned my gaze till it rested upon the spot where the great stone had lain. There wasn't any bones there ! . I just said to myself, "Well, if this an't the blastedest, infernalest swindle that ever I've come across yet, I wish I may never !" And then I scratched out of there, and marched up here to the Volcano House, and got out my old raw-boned fool of a horse, "Oahu," and "lammed" him till he couldn't stand up without leaning against something. You can not bet any thing on dreams. SHORT AND SINGULAR RATIONS. jS many will remember, the clipper-ship Hornet, of New- York, was "burned at sea on her passage to San Francisco. The disaster occurred in lat. 2 20' north, long. 112 8' west. After "being forty-three days adrift on the Ibroad Pacific, in open "boats, the crew and passengers succeeded in making Ha- waii. A tribute to the courage and "brave en- durance of these men has been paid in a letter detailing their sufferings, (the particulars being gathered from their own lips,) from which the following excerpt is made : On Monday, the thirty-eighth day after the disaster, "we had nothing left," said the third mate, "but a pound and a half of ham the bone was a good deal the heaviest part of it and one soup-and-bully tin." These things were divided among the fifteen men, and they SHORT AND SINGULAR RATIONS. 195 ate it all two ounces of food to each man. I do not count the ham-bone, as that was saved for next day. For some time, now, the poor wretches had "been cutting their old boots into small pieces and eating them. They would also pound wet rags to a sort of pulp and eat them. On the thirty-ninth day the ham-lbone was divided up into rations, and scraped with knives and eaten. I said, " You say the two sick men remained sick all through, and after a while two or three had to Ibe relieved from standing watch ; how did you get along without medicines ?" The reply was, " Oh ! we couldn't have kept them if we'd had them; if we'd had "boxes of pills, or any thing like that, we'd have eaten them. It was just as well we couldn't have kept them, and we couldn't have given them to the sick men alone we'd have shared them around all alike, I guess." It was said rather in jest, but it was a pretty true jest, no doubt- After apportioning the ham-bone, the cap- tain cut the canvas cover that had been around the ham into fifteen equal pieces, and each man took his portion. This was the last division of food the captain made. The men broke up the 196 SHORT AND SINGULAR RATIONS. small oakei butter tub, and divided tlie staves among themselves, and gnawed them up. The shell of a little green turtle was scraped with knives, and eaten to the last shaving. The third mate chewed pieces of "boots, and spit them out, but ate nothing except the soft straps of two pairs of boots ate three on the thirty-ninth day, and saved one for the fortieth. The men seem to have thought in their own minds of the shipwrecked mariner's last dread- ful resort cannibalism ; but they do not ap- pear to have conversed about it. They only thought of the casting lots and killing one of their number as a possibility ; but even when they were eating rags, and bone, and boots, and shell, and hard oak wood, they seem to have still had a notion that it was remote. They felt that some one of the company must die soon which one they well knew ; and during the last three or four days of their ter- rible voyage they were patiently but hungrily waiting for him. I wonder if the subject of these anticipations knew what they were think- ing of ? He must have known it he must have felt it. They had even calculated how long he would last. They said to themselves, but not SHORT AND SINGULAR RATIONS. 197 to each other I think they said, "He will die Saturday and then !" There was one exception to the spirit of delicacy I have mentioned a Frenchman who kept an eye of strong personal interest upon the sinking man, and noted his failing strength with untiring care and some degree of cheerful- ness. He frequently said to Thomas, " I think he will go off pretty soon now, sir ; and then we'll eat him I" This is very sad. Thomas, and also several of the men, state that the sick "Portyghee," during the five days that they were entirely out of provisions, actu- ally ate two silk handkerchiefs and a couple of cotton shirts, besides his share of the boots, and bones, and lumber. Captain Mitchell was fifty-six years old on the twelfth of June the fortieth day after the burning of the ship and the third day before the boat's crew reached land. He said it looked somewhat as if it might be the last one he was going to enjoy. He had no birthday feast ex- cept some bits of ham-canvas no luxury but this, and no substantials save the leather and oaken bucket-staves. Speaking of the leather diet, one of the men 198 SHORT AND SINGULAR RATIONS. told me lie was obliged to eat a pair of "boots which, were so old and rotten that they were full of holes ; and then he smiled gently and said he didn't know, though, but what the holes tasted about as good as the baj^nce of the boot. This man was very feeble, and after saying tMs he went to bed. T /o RARE BOOKS DEPT.